JJ Atencio, Janjan Jaboneta, Edrin Panganiban, Bright Akhuetie, Noah Webb, Agaton Uvero, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Edrin Panganiban, Bo Perasol, Javi Gomez de Liaño, Marcy Venezuela
JJ Atencio, Janjan Jaboneta, Edrin Panganiban, Bright Akhuetie, Noah Webb, Agaton Uvero, Juan Gomez de Liaño, Edrin Panganiban, Bo Perasol, Javi Gomez de Liaño, Marcy Venezuela

The whole world of sports has come to a halt because of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) stay fighting. Every member of the team is optimistic that Filipinos and the Philippines will get through the difficult challenges they are facing and are staying positive in words and deeds.

Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol has reminded his players to put in the same heart and passion they show in the game into their response to the pandemic, encouraging them to practice teamwork and find ways to help those who are affected by the scourge of the coronavirus. He said, “During these trying times, our never-give-up attitude on court should be evident in how we battle this pandemic together as a team.”

“We are optimistic that we can bounce back and come out stronger,” Perasol continued. “While we face our own personal battles, let’s not forget our fellow Filipinos who are greatly affected by this virus. Let’s do our share, no matter how big or small.”

The ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) have prohibited sports-related mass gatherings like training, competitions and tournaments and while the Maroons are holed up in their respective homes, they still find ways to stay competitive and in shape, both physically and mentally. UAAP Season 82 team captain Noah Webb said they try their best to stay in shape by doing their workouts at home since they cannot go to the gym.

“Our coaches are always guiding us and giving us programs to follow,” Webb shared. “It’s also very important for us to stay mentally tough since this is a different opponent we are facing.”

UP MBT team manager Atty. Agaton Uvero said it is important for the team and the players to be resilient since a lot of things will change and new protocols will be implemented even after the ECQ is lifted. He explained, “Our primary concern will always be the safety of each and every one but we will stay committed to keeping the team intact so we can still give our best performance with or without games in the near future.”

Uvero reiterated his gratitude to all the team’s fans, supporters and sponsors who continue to support the Fighting Maroons and their various initiatives. Among the sponsors are Robinsons Retail Group, STATS Performance Apparel, Palawan Express Pera Padala and PayMaya.

“We will always stay thankful to our fans who never tire of supporting us whether we are in active competition or not and we will always be indebted to our partners and sponsors Robinsons Retail Group, STATS Performance Apparel, Palawan Express Pera Padala and PayMaya for remaining committed to the team despite difficult times like these,” Uvero said. “Their support and their various efforts to provide assistance and relief to the frontliners and those most affected by the ECQ inspire us and buoy up our spirits.”

UPMBT players and alumni along with various UP teams and organizations sprang to action soon after the ECQ was declared. They initiated efforts to provide frontliners with necessary items like personal protective equipment (PPEs) and meals. They also reached out to affected communities with rice and other daily necessities.

Among those who raised funds and donated in kind are Fighting Maroons Paul Desiderio, Jett Manuel, Ricci Rivero, Diego Dario, Kyles Lao, Jarrell Lim, Ibrahim Ouattara, Jaybie Mantilla, Joe Gomez de Liaño, Javi Gomez de Liaño and Juan Gomez de Liaño. NowheretogobutUP Foundation, the UP College of Human Kinetics (CHK) and the Salamat PH Healthcare Heroes also conducted fundraisers to help the frontliners, stranded UP students and staff, and various communities.

“There is so much uncertainty right now and these are extremely difficult times for many Filipinos,” NowheretogobutUP Foundation founding chairman Renan Dalisay stated. “That’s why this is the time to be one with our people as we all go through these hardships together. Let’s all do our share in helping one another. Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. The goal of resilience is to thrive.”

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