SPORTS and corporate life may seem to be distinct things, but at the core, they are pretty much similar.

This was the focus of the speech of PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio at the recently held PH Digicon 2020, a virtual business convention which gathered top industry leaders from across the world, sharing expert insights on technology and business.

Mr. Panlilio drew from his experience as a sportsman and sports advocate as he underscored how sports and corporate life operate on similar points.

“Sports engender a sense of belonging and build solidarity between you, your teammates, your coaches, and your wider community… Being a sportsman means exhibiting respect for your competitors and to everyone around you,” said Mr. Panlilio, who is also president of the MVP Sports Foundation and team governor of the Meralco Bolts in the Philippine Basketball Association.

Adding, “As a telco executive, I realize that there exists an inextricable link between connectivity, corporate life, and sports. While the squeaky hardwood of the basketball court feels completely different from the low-key carpet of the boardroom and the office, both environments prize similar values.”

Mr. Panlilio went on to liken to what he does for PLDT-Smart to that of managing a team, which includes speaking to key players about the need to level up and to work as a team; maximizing the use of data analytics; monitoring top-ups, regional performance, geographical demand; and a number of other metrics to make better decisions.

“We have enhanced our capacities by investing in better fiber systems, LTE, and 5G. “How these values manifest in business and in sports may look very different, but the core philosophies and strategies are the same,” he said.

Accountability, too, is primordial in the corporate setup and sports, Mr. Panlilio said.

“The accountability we inculcate among our employees is the same accountability we like seeing on the court — players admitting their mistakes and vowing to play harder, and smarter — during the next game.”

A go-getting mindset — built around preparation, hard work, and developing new skills to overcome setbacks and challenges as embodied by the late National Basketball Association legend Kobe Bryant’s famous Mamba Mentality — goes a long way, Mr. Panlilio said.

He shared that it is the same grit and determination he has seen with the successful people he has worked with.

For the PLDT-Smart executive, continued improvement is also key to flourish be it in sports or corporate life.

“Whenever I am asked about our performance, I cannot help but answer the question like an athlete during a post-game interview. I would say: I’m happy we won, but the series isn’t over. There are a lot of things we could do even better. Better teamwork. Better discipline. Better accountability. More inclusion. We need to review the film. We need to see how we can improve. We do what we do to create a future where all of us can win, and we will not stop until we achieve that.”

PLDT Enterprise’s PH Digicon 2020 happened from Oct. 28 to 30. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo