ALTHOUGH uncommon, an athlete competing in two sports in the UAAP is something that the league has seen. However, a two-sport athlete who earns an MBA degree while actively playing, runs his own international business, and publishes a book is a rare kind. Such a rare gem is De La Salle University’s Benjamin “Ben” Phillips III, whose exceptional achievements and unwavering dedication is leaving a lasting impact on Philippine sports and academics.
Ben first earned his fair share of the limelight in Philippine sports when he suited up to play for the DLSU Green Archers in the UAAP in 2021, even though he was not recruited and was a walk-on tryout. Playing alongside his younger brother Michael, Ben became known as “Kuya Ben.” His passion for sports, coupled with his determination, led him to play basketball again in the following season and then venture into the volleyball court as a member of the DLSU Green Spikers as a middle blocker come March 2023.
The quick study
Unknown to many, while Ben donned the green and white jersey, he was enrolled under a full scholarship in the DLSU Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, considered one of the toughest in the country. This meant that aside from training and participating in games and tournaments for both basketball and volleyball, Ben was also attending his MBA courses and fulfilling the stringent requirements of his chosen program. This hectic schedule was only intensified when Ben was selected to be a part of the 2023 Gilas Pilipinas Southeast Asian Games pool, headlined by the breakout play of his younger brother Michael, and eventually winning a gold medal with the “Redeem Team”.
Nonetheless, Coach Gian Nazario, Ben’s basketball coach, attested to Ben’s exceptional time management skills, recalling Ben’s dedication: “He knows his priorities, and he goes 100% on all of it.”
Ben himself described his demanding daily routine, saying: “My day usually started around 7 or 8 am in the morning where, after my morning routine of scripture and meditation, I would conduct progress checks and have managerial meetings with my company back in the States… The lack of sleep and recovery was evident in my everyday appearance and energy, but I knew it was the short-term sacrifice I would be able to do with the Lord’s strength.”
Coach Gian shared specific instances where Ben’s exceptional time management skills were evident, such as during Season 85 of Men’s Volleyball Season, when he would train with the volleyball team from 1 to 4 pm and train with the Basketball team from 4 to 7pm.
An MVP in Business
As if being a varsity player and a graduate student simultaneously were not daunting enough, Ben continued to run his own business while studying. He serves as the Director of Global Affairs and the Chief Operating Officer of Dr. Baker & Associates: The Business Hospital™, a consulting firm that specialized in serving small businesses and startups globally.
Ben expressed his dedication to service, saying: “Zeal for service is a quality of Lasallian business education that has influenced how I attack problems and value solution-based outcomes for the greater good, not just the individual.”
Before arriving in the Philippines, Ben had already published a book titled “Lone Wolf Mentality: A Millennial Mindset,” which provided personal financial management tips. He is also working on his second book, “Creating a Miracle: The Story of Miracle Mills,” and publishing his MBA thesis.
Ben’s journey toward earning his MBA degree was no easy feat, but he expressed his determination and gratitude, saying: “After only two years of grueling studies, I completed my MBA degree and successfully defended my Action Research project. I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way, both in academics and sports.”
With the UAAP volleyball tournament concluded, Ben is back on the basketball court for his final season with the De La Salle Green Archers. However, his journey does not end there. Ben is set to embark on his Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) at DLSU, with plans to become the next Business Doctor of The Business Hospital™. He also envisions pursuing a law degree after completing the DBA, showcasing his unyielding determination to make a difference in multiple domains.
In all his endeavors, Ben means business and is “all business”. His commitment and hard work in his academic pursuit are undeniable, equaled only by his dedication and tenacity in his chosen sports. And Ben intends on continuing just that. (With reports by Anne Ruth dela Cruz)
Image credits: Magsy Magbanua