HUNDREDS of students from Tondo who served as mascots or player escorts during the FIBA World Cup were honored during a ceremony that also marked the fourth year of San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC).
The Better World Community Center is a food bank and learning institution that caters to more than 500 families in the area.
Students from General Vicente Lim Elementary School received FIBA kits containing headbands, shoes, t-shirts, shorts, socks and basketballs as well as products from San Miguel Purefoods during the FIBA Wanda Little Champions event organized together with the San Miguel Foundation.
FIBA local organizing committee (LOC) officials Eric Altamirano and Wanda Little Champions Project Lead Josh Paulite, Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots coach Chito Victolero and Hotshots forward Rome De la Rosa graced the event.
“We are very happy with the participation of Better World Tondo and the Gen. Vicente Lim Elementary School,” said Altamirano, head of the National Basketball Training Center, who once coached Purefoods in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Victolero, whose two young sons were among the children who walked with players from the various World Cup teams during entrance parades, praised the rare opportunity given the grade school boys and girls, some of whom were from the Better World community and Gen. Vicente Lim.
“We’re very thankful, grateful and proud with San Miguel Foundation for the chance to be part of that program,” Victolero said. “It was an experience that my sons won’t forget.”
Gen. Vicente Lim Elementary School teacher Prescila Ascuna said potential FIBA World Cup kids were screened before a list was drawn.
The San Miguel Corporation-Better World Tondo community center was opened by SMC president and CEO Ramon S. Ang in September 2019 in an effort to reduce both food waste and hunger.
San Miguel Foundation led the Better World morning events, along with Rise Against Hunger Philippines and AHA Learning Center.
Before noon, the ceremony shifted to the Gen. Vicente Lim Elementary covered court for the FIBA Wanda Little Champions event.
SMC, through San Miguel Beer as event partner, supported the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the country co-hosted with Japan and Indonesia.
The Philippines’ biggest conglomerate has also opened its sports manpower resources to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas during the formation of the Gilas Pilipinas team for the World Cup, as well as for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The Wanda Group, meanwhile, is a multinational corporation founded in Dalian, Liaoning and headquartered in Beijing. It deals with construction, diversified investments, entertainment and media and financial services.
The Little Champions event was launched during the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China as a means of connecting to the future generation of potential national players.