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    PH Youth team loses longtime benefactor

    Dec 26, 2012

    MORE than anything else, the booming sale of Iphone and Samsung phones in the market has had an impact on the country’s Under-18 men’s basketball team.

    Former National Youth team manager Joel Lopa admitted Tao Corporation which he heads, has already given up sponsoring the youth development program of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

    Tao Corporation is the local distributor of Nokia phones and has been at the forefront of sponsoring the country’s Under-16 and Under-18 squads for the past five years.

    “Wala na bumitaw na kami,” said Lopa in an exclusive interview with

    “Yung last year namin (under Energen), talagang tinawid na lang namin,” he said, referring to the last youth team coached by Olsen Racela.

    “Yung principal sponsor din kasi namin may iba nang direksyon na gustong puntahan. Hindi naman namin kaya na suportahan mag-isa, so nag-beg-off na lang kami.”

    Worldwide, Nokia has experienced a drop in sales for the past two years.

    Tao Corporation has previously backed the three batches of national teams sent to Asian and Southeast Asian level tournaments beginning with the team coached by Franz Pumaren.

    Eric Altamirano took over in 2009 and  led a Philippine Youth team composed of Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, Michael Tolomia, and Raphael Banal to a fourth-place finish in the Fiba-Asia Under-18 Championships.

    Racela’s squad equaled the same feat during this year’s edition of the FIBA-Asia meet behind a team bannered by Jerie Pingoy, Gee-boy Babilonia, Kent Lao, and Kyle Suarez.

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