MVP Foundation believes in the Filipino
ONLY five years since it was created, the MVP Sports Foundation Inc. has taken the cudgels in the Philippines’ quest for Olympic glory.
Few in the private sector could rival the resources poured in by the foundation on the country’s sports programs with MVPSF president Al Panlilio brimming with optimism that the support will finally translate to a medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
MVPSF has taken four athletes under their wings in boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora and golfer Miguel Tabuena.
The MVP Group was also at the forefront of Gilas Pilipinas’ quest for a spot in Olympic basketball for the first time since 1972.
But Gilas fell short in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila last July, extending the country’s wait for a return to the most prestigious competition of the sport closest to the Filipinos’ heart.
Basketball is among the eight priority sports identified by the MVPSF, which is also backing badminton, boxing, cycling, football, golf, triathlon and taekwondo.
“More than anything, we believe in the Filipino and the capability to be great whether in sports or in business,” said Panlilio.
Named after its chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, the MVPSF has Victorico “Ricky” Vargas, Orlando Vea, Patrick Gregorio and Panlilio in its board of trustees.
“We believe that sports is not just important in nation-building, but also a ticket for the youth to have better lives and make a difference for the country.”
The foundation has poured more than half a billion pesos of sports development programs since 2001 with close to 6,000 athletes benefiting from its advocacy.
Boxing has benefited immensely from the generosity of the MVPSF with Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) director Ed Picson saying the funding from the MVP group has allowed the Abap to cast a wider net in searching for talent as part of their grassroots development program.
“Fresh talent is regularly recruited from all over the Philippines,” said Picson.
“Our elite boxers are given opportunity to hone their craft with proper nutrition, the latest equipment, adequate foreign exposure and the latest technological developments in the sport which has proven to be critical in our journey to Olympic qualification for 2016.”
Ladon, who qualified via the Asian Championships in China early this year, is among the discoveries of the Abap program in recent years, while Suarez has reaped the benefits of constant international exposure in his quest for an Olympic berth in the past eight years.
Taekwondo has thrived with the help of MVPSF. It was through the hosting of an Olympic qualifier in Manila where Alora bagged a ticket to Rio, while another taekwondo jin, Pauline Lopez, wrested the Asian title in her division.
“This support has helped the PTA (Philippine Taekwondo Federation) provide the needed exposure for our national team through their participation in international competitions,” said PTA CEO grandmaster Sung Chon Hong.
“The athletes are empowered through their invaluable experience when they represent and bring honor to their country.”
Support is most crucial for Alora, who was part of the first batch of athletes to leave for Rio.
“The preparatory competitions and training that our Olympic hopefuls participated in before the actual qualification games were crucial in their preparations, particularly with Elaine,” said Sung. “It was made all the more possible through the support of MVPSF.”
Panlilio said private support can only get the athletes so far. Government support is just as important in creating an environment for the athletes’ success.
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