ALTHOUGH known more for his passion for basketball, businessman-sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan went out of his way to lend a hand in supporting other disciplines through a foundation that serves as driving force in the development of world class Filipino athletes.
Behind such backdrop, the MVP Sports Foundation Inc. was established four years ago with a mission of helping both grassroots development and elite programs of eight national sports associations.
Aside from basketball, other sports taken under the wings of the foundation are boxing, taekwondo, badminton, football, cycling, tennis, and running.
“Here’s a perfect opportunity, a perfect vehicle to further help Philippine sports, while at the same time, encourage everyone to live like a winner by leading a more active and healthier lifestyle,” said Pangilinan when the foundation was formally launched in 2011.
Slowly but surely, results were achieved.
Gilas Pilipinas finished runner-up in the 2013 Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship and punched a ticket to the Fiba World Cup for the first time after almost four decades, the Philippine Azkals are now the best football team in the competitive Southeast Asian region, and cycling produced a first ever gold medal in the Asian Games through BMX rider Daniel Caluag.
Hopefully, more will be gained as Pangilinan, chairman of the foundation, himself said, “there will be challenges up ahead.”
Recognizing the significance it attained for Philippine sport in so short a time, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) deemed it best to bestow on the MVP Sports Foundation Inc. the first ever Sports Patron of the Year honor when it holds its Annual Awards Night co-presented by MILO and San Miguel Corp. a week from now at the 1Esplanade Mall of Asia Complex.
Caluag, the country’s lone gold medal winner in the Incheon Asiad, is on top of the honor list for the Feb. 16 event which has Smart, the MVP Sports Foundation, and Meralco as principal sponsors and the Philippine Sports Commission as major sponsor, as the 27-year-old rider is the recipient of the prestigious Athlete of the Year award.
At the same time, the MVP Sports Foundation Inc. is one among the handful of personalities and entities to be recognized during the Feb. 16 event also backed by PAGCOR, ICTSI, Rain or Shine, PCSO, PBA, Maynilad, Accel, National University, El Jose Catering, Air21, and Globalport.
National University will be honored with the President’s award, the Philippine men’s basketball team the Lifetime Achievement Award, coach Tim Cone with Excellence in Basketball, Mitsubishi with Hall of Fame, Alyssa Valdez as Ms Volleybal), Jean Pierre Sabido as Mr. Taekwondo, and Pirncess Superal and Tony Lascuna as Golfers of the Year.
Others to be honored by the country’s oldest media organization at 66 years are major awardees Donnie Nietes, San Mig Coffee team, Gabriel Luis Moreno, Michael Christian Martinez, San Beda Red Lions, June Mar Fajardo, Kiefer Ravena, Mark Galedo, Daniella Uy, Mikee Charlene Suede, Jessie Aligaga, Jean Claude Saclag, Philippine dragon boat team, Philippine poomsae team (male under 30), Philippine poomsae team (freestyle), Kid Molave, and Jonathan Hernandez.