PHILIPPINE Basketball Association team TNT KaTropa came to the aid of those in need, recently providing financial assistance and helping in the distribution of hot meals and grocery packs to families affected by a fire in Mandaluyong City.

Through the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), players Kib Montalbo, Jjay Alejandro and Gryann Mendoza, coaches Mark Dickel and Bong Ravena, and team officials Gabby Cui and Miguel Fernandez lend support to relief efforts for the fire victims that hit a residential area in the city at the Nueve De Febrero Elementary School and other evacuation centers in Barangay Addition Hills.

“We hope that through this relief effort, we are able to bring some joy and comfort to the families whose lives are forever changed by this tragedy. A big thanks to the PLDT-Smart Foundation for giving us an opportunity to be part of this activity,” said Mr. Cui, who is also PLDT-Smart Assistant Vice President.

The recent Mandaluyong fire reportedly left 600 families homeless.

“Our hearts are with the families affected by this tragedy. As they try to move forward with their lives amid the pandemic, we hope that our gesture enables them to cling to hope especially during this difficult time,” said PSF President Esther Santos, for her part, said.

The PSF organized the relief activity in partnership with Your 200 Pesos, an initiative that aims to feed families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is led by former volleyball star, TV personality and beauty queen Michele Gumabao and Strength and Conditioning Coach Aldo Panlilio.

The group hopes that through this partnership it can widen its reach to provide hope and help to more people in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile in league news, reports on Thursday had TNT assistant coach and consultant Tab Baldwin on his way out of the KaTropa camp, coming on the heels of his stirring comments that the PBA deemed detrimental to the league.

During his recent session with Tiebreaker Vods’ Coaches Unfiltered podcast, Mr. Baldwin, also the coach of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines champions Ateneo Blue Eagles and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas official, spoke his mind and made comments on the PBA’s format, officiating (particularly towards imports) and how local coaches were “tactically immature,” among others, which did not sit well with PBA officials and other local hoops stakeholders.

He was later suspended by the league for three games and fined P75,000. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo