TV docu show co-hosted by Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson to aid rise of future sports stars 
Hosted by actors and sports enthusiasts Gerald Anderson and Piolo Pascual, TEAM U features a powerhouse cast that includes sports experts Gretchen Ho, Armand Del Rosario, Marco Benitez, and coach Eski Ripoll. Jerome Ascano

AN all-new sports documentary program aiming to discover athletes from the grassroots level will be launched on June 21 over ABS-CBN Sports +Action.

Hosted by actors and sports enthusiasts Gerald Anderson and Piolo Pascual, TEAM U features a powerhouse cast that includes sports experts Gretchen Ho, Armand Del Rosario, Marco Benitez, and coach Eski Ripoll.

Three schools chosen from all over the country whose young athletes deserve to be part of the wholistic program, from sports development to scholarship grants, will be shown during the pilot season.

First stop was Abellana National High School in Cebu, followed by Rizal High School in Pasig City and General Santos High School in General Santos City, hometown of Anderson.

For all of the show’s hosts, the program is their way of giving back to the sports.

“Doon sa Cebu sa napuntahan namin kahit mahirap ang sitwasyon nila sa buhay, may iba wala ng nanay, pero ang passion nila (sa sports) di nawawala. With this show, it’s a way na makatulong kami sa kanila,” said Anderson during the formal press launch of the show on Thursday at The Lounge in Tomas Morato.

Anderson co-produces the show along with award-winning actor Pascual and Ripoli.

“First time ko maging producer and it’s my way of filling my passion for sports, and my way of giving back para makatulong,” said Anderson.

“We just want to earn more money,” said Pascual laughing. “But seriously, since it’s an advocacy, nothing comes to our pockets. The money is for the show, not for our own interest.

“Magandang platform ito to expand and broaden our horizon and magamit namin ang influence in a good way.”

Although the show aims to tap athletes from the provinces, its main priority remains the public schools, where there are limited support, financial aid, and proper training.

 “Something to give back to the children na nangangarap na maipakita `yung mga kakayanan nila sa sports,” said Ho, the volleyball star from Ateneo.

“Na hindi lang `yung mga galing sa private schools at may kaya ang puwede sa sports. Gusto ko mai-share `yung alam ko and hopefully, makatulong.

“Lalo na sa mga probinsiya kasi napaka-abundant ng talent doon.”

The pilot episode will be shown at 11:30 a.m. on ABS-CBN Sports +Action and replay will be aired on June 16 at 1:30 p.m. on Balls Channel.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada