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Panlilio reaffirms Smart, PLDT’s commitment to helping Philippine sports

SMART Communications and the PLDT Group have been active in lending local sports a hand, and it is a mission that stays.

Speaking at the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, Al S. Panlilio, Smart president and CEO and PLDT Group chief revenue officer, said their group has been “big” in supporting Philippine sports and will continue to do so moving forward.

“It’s not only Smart, but also the PLDT group and MVP. We are, of course, very big in [supporting] sports. We’ve been supporting sports for a long time, we even have the MVP Sports Foundation since 2011, which I also once headed,” said Mr. Panlilio of their group’s sports thrust.

“We are part of the private sector helping sports. Not all sports, of course, because we also have limited resources. But we’ve chosen sports that hopefully can get us our first Olympic gold medal. We’ve never had a gold medal yet,” he added.

Smart and PLDT have been supporting athletes like gymnast Carlos Yulo  and weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in their respective sports journeys, particularly in their Olympic bids.

Recently, golf has been a focus area for the group since it is now part of the Olympics. Smart has been supporting golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan who have positioned themselves in qualifying for the Tokyo Games later this year.

Other sports it is supporting are boxing, basketball, and badminton.

“We’ve been supporting sports, which we feel can compete on the international stage,” said Mr. Panlilio.

The Smart official also underscored that its support for the sporting community is not only confined to helping a particular sport, but also having sports part of the services and packages they offer.

“We are also big in our services and packages in sports. We have GIGA (data packs), which is our main platform for our passion points for our customers and we also have a sports pack which includes not only the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) but also the NBA (National Basketball Associaton). It would have included the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) had it push through with its season,” said Mr. Panlilio.

He went on to say that they believe mobile devices and content will be the future and that they are working to shore up further their services and offering, including having sports in them.

“We strongly feel mobile [content] will continue to be big and we are pushing for sports to be part of that as well as esports. At the end of the day, it’s our business — connectivity,” he said.

In the PSA Forum, Mr. Panlilio, also president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), talked as well about the preparation of Gilas Pilipinas for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers later this month. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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