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Angara, Villanueva underscore need for unity in sports

Angara & Villanueva
Angara (left) and Villanueva: Sportsminded national leaders who joined Professional Sports Summit.

SENATORS Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Emmanuel “Joel” Villanueva lauded the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) and Filipino professional sports community for coming together and working together during the coronavirus pandemic.

Angara, also the Chairman of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), thanked the legends of Philippine sports for being such an inspiration to the youth.

Your stories of struggles and success can inspire the future generation of Philippine athletes,” said Angara in his message to the participants of the virtual edition of the Philippine Professional Sports Summit last Saturday.

Alam naman po natin na nandiyan na yung mga raw materials — the next Manny Pacquiao, the next Hidilyn Diaz, the next Paeng Nepomuceno, the next Eugene Torre and many others. Andiyan na po sila,” said Sen. Angara.

Sen. Villanueva also congratulated GAB and the members of the professional sports community for the successful virtual event.

Sa tulong ninyo, alam kong hindi nalalayo ang araw na magkakasama-sama tayong muli sa mga palaro dito sa bansa,” said Sen. Villanueva, a former UST Growling Tigers varsity player.

Sa ngayon, isang koponan lang po tayo – isang Team Pilipinas sa pinakamalaki at pinakamabigat na laban. Ang laban natin sa COVID-19. At tulad po ng napatunayan na ng mga atletang Pilipino noon, mananalo rin po tayo sa labang ito ngayon,”added Sen. Villanueva.

Sen.Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, also congratulated the participants for setting a good example in the government’s fight
against the COVID-19 by following the health and safety protocols of the IATF in resumption of sports.

The three sports-loving national leaders were joined by sports icons and distinguished professional sports stakeholders who spoke about the new normal in sports.

GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra and Commissioners Mario Masanguid and Eduard Trinidad led the opening of the online summit, with more than 280 professional sports stakeholders and sports enthusiasts in attendance via Zoom teleconferencing and Facebook live.

The second Professional Sports Summit exceeded our expectations. During the start of the year when the pandemic has started, the future of sports was very dark and with no hope in sight. Who would have known at the end of the year and even in the midst of the pandemic, the GAB family would grow into having to welcome and embrace more members of its pro sports family?”said Mitra.

Mitra said GAB has been surrounded by difficulties, with the COVID-19 outbreak halting the conduct of sporting events in the country

But despite the lockdowns, GAB was able to pull off the annual event even though it was way different than that of last year’s Professional Sports Summit held at the PICC.

This year has been more than fruitful for the agency and we have been able to have so much with the help of our stakeholders, media friends, government agencies who helped us push for sports resumption to continue to provide livelihoods to the pro sports industry and entertainment to the Filipino fans,” added Mitra.

International guests who attended the online event were World Boxing Council (WBC) President Mauricio Sulaiman, WBC Cares International Chairperson Jill Diamond, former PBA Best Import-turned-school dean Sean Chambers and sports psychologist and John F. Kennedy University alumna Dr. Sheryll Casuga.

Asia’s first GM Eugene Torre, world billiards legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, world boxing champion Gerry Penalosa, motocross champion Jovie Saulog, esports pioneer Julius Mariano and PBA superstars LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra and Matrhew Wright of Phoenix Super LPG and team manager Paolo Bugia also attended the event.

The other speakers were PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Deputy Commissioner Eric Castro, professional boxing promoters Mr. Jerome Calatrava and JC Mananquil, sports lawyer Mickey Ingles, UP Octa Research member Dr. Rodrigo Ong, international boxing referee Atty. Danrex Tapdasan, Women National Basketball League executive Rhose Montreal, Pilipinas Golf Tours Inc. member Jack Imperial, Sunrise Events General Manager Princess Galura, PFL Commissioner Mikhail Torre, PVL President Ricky Palou and PCAP President-Commissioner Atty. Paul Elauria.