[EDITOR'S NOTE: Spin.ph bares its choices for the Top 10 Sports Heroes of 2015 in the run-up to the announcement of our Sportsman of the Year. All 10 awardees will be honored during our Awards Night to be held on January 30 at the Ceremonial Hall of Marriott Hotel Manila. Here's Awardee No. 7]
CATEGORY: Sportsmen Who Care
AWARDEE: UP Fighting Maroons
THE University of the Philippines seniors basketball team may not have won a lot of games in UAAP Season 78 but for one evening, they did something that carries more weight than any championship trophy.
In an act on kindness that highlights the triumph of the human spirit, the Fighting Maroons took time out to attend to the Lumads who came all the way from Mindanao and away from their communities to fight for a cause in Manila.
The Lumads were housed by the school in late October as part of the Manilakbayan: Kampuhan sa Diliman, a protest caravan over the killings in their communities in Mindanao - heinous acts being pinned on military and paramilitary groups.
As the Lumads stayed in the UP campus, the Fighting Maroons, in a spontaneous act of kindness, invitec their kids to a basketball clinic and game at the College of Human Kinetics Gym last October 26.
According to the account of UP’s school organ Tinig ng Plaridel, the Maroons spent hours honing the kids' skills in ballhandling, defense, and layups. After the clinic, the Lumads also played with the UP cagers in a game officiated by JR Gallarza, one of the players who spearheaded the clinic.
Cheick Kone and Andrew Harris, according to Tinig ng Plaridel, tallied the only points scored by a player from the UP Maroons who allowed the kids to bask in the spotlight and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It was a heartwarming atmosphere inside the gym that was filled with chants and smiles from the Lumad kids who were not in the match.
Prior to event, UP Maroons guard Jett Manuel helped raise awareness about the Lumad oppression through social media. A Facebook photo posted by the UP student publication Philippine Collegian showed Manuel holding a sign with the hashtag #StopLumadKillings right after the team won their second straight game to start Season 78.
“I’m so proud of the guys. They really helped in making that night special for the Lumad kids. Very, very, very proud of the team,” said Gallarza.