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Thrice-a-week Zoom meetings birthed Winning Still: Essays from the Philippine Sports Landscape during the Pandemic, an anthology of essays written by accomplished Filipino sports stakeholders and personalities. 

In this B-Side episode, Ateneo de Davao University athletics director and Winning Still project coordinator Emmanuel Rene “Noli” S. Ayo tells BusinessWorld senior reporter Michael Angelo S. Murillo the lessons he learned from wrangling a group of alpha individuals — including Olympic gold medalist and weightlifter Hidilyn F. Diaz — into achieving a “compelling common goal.” 


‘Sink or adapt.’ 

“In this pandemic, you either sink or adapt. The book is about adapting, evolving amid the prevailing conditions,” Mr. Ayo said. “The pandemic has affected us but it also gave the invitation to change. Many are still struggling but there are also others who have moved forward. [Things may look impossible right now] but the thing about impossibility is it only takes one person [or moment] to remove the impossible.”  

Break down silos. 

Winning Still highlights the value of a compelling common goal and shared experience. 

“Throughout the meetings we gathered a lot of interesting insights. We felt that we had to share what we were discussing to more people,” said Mr. Ayo. “We like gathering people but sometimes we operate in silos. We have to come together. It is easier if you have someone with you on this journey.”   

‘You cannot share from an empty cup.’ 

The knee-jerk reaction among coaches at the start of the pandemic was to put the welfare of their athletes before their own. Mr. Ayo reminded these coaches to take care of themselves and their families first. “There is wisdom in intentional nurturing,” he said. “You have to nurture yourself and think about how you nurture yourself. … You cannot share from an empty cup.” 

Recorded remotely on Sept. 17. Produced by Brontë H. Lacsamana, Paolo L. Lopez and Sam L. Marcelo.

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