SBP strengthens partnership with government as Angara, Puno get on board
Sen. Sonny Angara and former Antipolo representative Robbie Puno have joined the SBP as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Jaime Campos

THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is seeking to strengthen its partnership with the government with the election of a current and former lawmaker to its new set of officers.

The SBP gained a stronger direct link to Congress with Sen. Sonny Angara being elected as SBP chairman and former Antipolo representative Robbie Puno as vice chairman to work with new president Al Panlilio.

The two lawmakers have been working with the SBP for a few years now, with Angara pushing for the bill sponsored by Puno that naturalized Andray Blatche in 2013. The two solons were also part of the SBP group that went to Tokyo and made their final presentation in its bid to host the 2019 Fiba World Cup.

“Nakita naman natin na kahit papaano, may konting support naman ng gobyerno sa largely private efforts of the SBP, so hopefully, yung partnership na yun, ma-grow natin,” Angara said.

“I think looking at the four objectives of president Al, wala namang laban: yung gusto ng estado, yun din ang gusto ng SBP,” he added. “We’re looking at success and prestige on the international stage, grassroots development, three-on-three, and the women’s greater participation.”

[See Al Panlilio succeeds MVP as president of SBP]

Angara cited Congress’ passing of Republic Act 10699, which doubled the incentives of athletes who win medals in top international competitions, as a sign of the government’s involvement in sports.

“I think there’s a greater awareness in Congress that sports is essential to nation building,” Angara said. “Malaking morale booster ang international competitions.”

“I think we’re moving along towards greater state support for the SBP,” he added, looking forward to more official meetings with Panlilio after working informally in the past.

“At least now, we really know directly straight from the horse’s mouth kung ano yung pangangailan ng atleta natin,” Angara said. “Hopefully we’ll be working with other government agencies also.”  

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