Sports are an inherent part of being a Filipino. Turn a few streets and it’s almost guaranteed that you will find a basketball hoop propped up somewhere, and a few people playing beneath it.

From a young age, Filipinos are taught in school how to play, not only basketball, but a variety of other sports like volleyball, badminton, and football. Outside the classroom, many Filipinos also engage in sports like boxing, cycling, and martial arts like taekwondo.

Which is why the MVP Group of Companies, one of the foremost business conglomerates in the Philippines, established the MVP Sports Foundation, Inc. Incorporated in 2011 and registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission, the MVPSF is a nonstock, nonprofit organization that privately funds sports development in the country, focusing on its chosen sports: badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, taekwondo, rugby, and weightlifting. The MVPSF was established to support sports programs through funding and give its feedback and technical advice to help and improve current sports practices used in the programs it supports.

The organization seeks to inspire and empower the Filipino athletes toward the first Philippine Olympic Gold Medal while creating a culture of hard work and perseverance.

“The MVP Sports Foundation will be the driving force in the development of world-class Filipino sports champions as well as the leading proponent of a culture of winning through sports using the grassroots programs established in its chosen sports,” the MVPSF wrote on its Web site.

The organization seeks to offer Filipino athletes a wide range of innovative, quality programs in partnership with several sports associations, empowering them and engaging the next generation of champions. This includes the creation, encouragement, promotion and undertaking of various programs, plans, projects and enterprises for sports, athletic, educational, livelihood and other socio-civic objectives geared toward the uplifting of individuals, groups and communities. The opportunities it will provide will target Filipinos from different walks of life, backgrounds, beliefs, and skill levels, with the hope that they can have the opportunity to compete “for flag and country and allow their journey serve as an inspiration to others.”

Such support extends even toward helping the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) with funding. Most recently, the MVPSF donated P20 million to the POC as part of the national athletes’ training for Asian Games that will be held Indonesia this year and the 2019 Southeast Asian Games that the country will be hosting.

Other development efforts will involve the promotion of sports programs and athletic projects such as coach and referee trainings, summer camps, medical sports clinic, an athletes academy and a sports complex, among others.

“Here’s a perfect opportunity, a perfect vehicle, to further help Philippine sports, while at the same time encourage everyone to live like a winner by leading a more active and healthier lifestyle,” Manny V. Pangilinan was reported as saying during the foundation’s launch in 2011.

“For basketball, the goal is to be the Asian champion; for boxing and taekwondo, no less than an Olympic gold; for cycling, the goal is to have a Filipino qualify in the Tour de France; for badminton and football, the goal is to be among the top three in Southeast Asia; for tennis, to be the best in Southeast Asia, while for running, to be the best in all of the Asian region.”

And while the medals will bring honor and glory to the country, the ultimate goal of the MVPSF is far grander. As the Philippines continues to make itself known on the world stage as a developing country, there is also a rising need to redefine the country’s cultural identity. Part of the MVPSF’s purpose is to nurture that identity, to inspire and raise aspirations enabling continued participation, supporting physical, educational and personal development to create a culture of winning in the country. In that way, Filipinos may find within themselves the determination to make a positive impact on the nation and enable them to achieve their goals and progress in life.

The foundation aims to instill the value of the Filipino determination as well as the ability to compete with other nations on a fair stage. To strengthen the unity of the Filipino people, amidst challenges, is the true victory.

“Sports, to me, is more than just playing games. It is also a powerful catalyst for change. It motivates each one of us to become a better person. It gives us the courage to surmount challenges and can even offer escape from poverty and the answer to our desire to lead better lives,” Mr. Pangilinan said.