MANILA, Philippines – For a few hours at least on Tuesday, cancer-stricken children from a hospital in Metro Manila got the chance to be with their favourite players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The PBA players mingled with 3-5 year-old children who were sick with leukemia as part of a post-Valentine’s treat sponsored by the PBA and SM Cinema at its IMAX theater on North Edsa in Quezon City.
“As you know we play at MOA [Mall of Asia] Arena. When we go into a partnership it’s not just about basketball…it’s also about social responsibility. And we are so happy, and grateful and lucky that we have SM Group of Companies. They have become a very strong partner of PBA in terms of activities that reach out to our needy kababayans,” said PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.
Salud said Tuesday’s activity was part of “The Alagang PBA” which caters to the needs of the less fortunate. It was scheduled for February 14 but they settled for Feb.26 due to conflicts in schedules.
Eddie Laure of the Alaska Aces, who attended the event, said that fans should not hesitate to reach out to their PBA idols.
“Wag silang mag dalawang isip na lumapit samin. Kasama yan sa orientation namin as PBA players,makipag entertain, mag interact, wag namin sila balewalain,” he said.
“Sana next time ma-invite kami ulit dito, para mas mapasaya namin ang mga bata,” he said.
“Children are close to the hearts of the PBA players because they saw their own kids . . . every year they make these children feel their love and friendship,” said Salud in Filipino.
The children were also treated to a 41-minute documentary entitled “Under the Sea”, which takes an underwater look at the diverse coastal regions of Southern Australia, New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific. In 3-D, the short film was narrated by Jim Carrey.
Ed Tejerero, senior vice president for SM Cinema, said they were “grateful” that PBA had chosen to partner with them.
“We all know how difficult cancer treatment is for children, and with this small gesture, we are happy to give them a break to relax and watch an entertaining yet educational movie here at our IMAX theaters with their sports idols,” said Tejerero.
Salud also thanked PBA fans for their continued support.
“Sa mga fans ng PBA, enjoy lang tayo sa basketball. Madaming basketball to come tapos magpapahinga tayo ng konti come June or July, pagpapraktisin natin ang ating Gilas dahil by August andito na ang FIBA Asia,” he said.
Aside from Tuesday’s activity, the PBA also had for its beneficiaries the Kapit Bisig para sa Ilog Pasig, Boystown, Gawad Kalinga, and the Cancer and Hematology of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.
SM has 246 cinemas and six IMAX Theatres in 45 branches nationwide and still continues to expand.