THE Pilipinas Legends tournament is taking the phrase “more than just basketball” to a higher level.
Aside from putting up a tournament, where former Philippine Basketball Association players are given one more chance to display their skills, the Pilipinas Legends will strongly promote its advocacy on disaster response and preparedness.
“I call on my former fellow players in the PBA to join us in this noble undertaking, not only in basketball, but also in our advocacy,” said Pilipinas Legends commissioner Chito Loyzaga during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum yesterday at Shakey’s in Malate.
Representing the AFP’s Civil Defense Division in the weekly public service forum, supported by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and Accel, was Gen. Boy Santiago, who committed to train a select group of players that will form part of the Legends Urban Disaster Response Team.
“We are ready to provide the needs of the Legends’ disaster response, from the training to the equipment necessary for a particular activity. We will make them heroes not just inside the hard-court but also off it, especially in times of disaster,” said Gen. Santiago.
On the part of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Col. Edwin Sadang said: “We will conduct educational information on disaster preparedness during the games of the basketball idols. We are very excited of this partnership because we know that we will be able to relay our message to the public effectively through the basketball program of the Legends.”
Sadang was accompanied by Marina Marasigan, Public Affairs officer of the Office of the Civil Defense.
For his part, Pilipinas Legends president Dick Balajadia said one of the objectives of the tournament is also to “empower the players by enhancing their business sense through a cooperative that we will help put up for them.”
“The cooperative, with the legends as members, will be allotted a portion of sales proceeds from the tournament’s regular games. This will make the players a stakeholder in this project,” added Balajadia, an accomplished businessman and sportsman, who has developed friendship with some PBA players like Paul Artadi and Willie Miller.
The first-ever conference will start in March with four teams competing in a double-round robin format. The top two teams after the eliminations will play in a cross-over semifinal round for the right to meet in a winner-take-all championship.
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