OFWs bring new tennis brand home
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2019 - 12:00am

The Philippines has tens of millions of overseas workers deployed around the world. A vast number of them are in the Middle East where they are engineers, nurses, teachers and the like. One way they stave off homesickness is by continuing habits they learned back home. For most, this means either playing or watching basketball from the US or the Philippines itself. That keeps them in touch with the world they’ve left behind.

But not everyone loved basketball to begin with. Some, like the Filipinos in this story, have always loved tennis. But in the Middle East, you’d have to learn not to mind the extreme dry heat, like you’re walking around next to a brick oven all the time. Then, you’ll have to find an inexpensive source of rackets and balls. 

In the Middle East, Shine tennis equipment and accessories came to the attention of Filipino tennis players working in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Their products were durable, economical and recognized by the International Tennis Federation. The trouble was finding them.

“We really love tennis. Many Filipinos in the Middle East love to play it,” explained Mhay del Rosario, managing director of Aperegle Sports Equipment and Accessories, the new Philippine distributor of Shine. “But we would have to drive for hours, then pay a premium for the balls because the demand was so high.”

The cost, time and energy they needed to have a constant supply of tennis balls and accessories reached unreasonable levels. So Mhay and her friends decided to go straight to the source. They went directly to the manufacturers, and also offered to distribute Shine in the Philippines. In that way, they would have an assured supply, get firsthand information of new products, and help the sport grow back home. 

Aperegle combines the two words apero (the French word for “friends”) with the image of an eagle and a falcon. This symbolizes the partnership between the Filipino and Middle Eastern counterparts. The equipment is manufactured in Thailand, making it easy to bring to the Philippines. The company’s top of the line Ultra Shine ball is also the official ball of Tennis Emirates, Bahrain Tennis Federation, and others. Fans of the sport have also seen Shine balls and racquets being used by a growing number of Davis Cup and Federation Cup teams. The brand’s equipment matches the quality of its competitors with a more affordable price tag for consumers. In late August, Del Rosario made a courtesy call on Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez, and made a commitment to aid in grassroots development of tennis throughout the country. Since its introduction into the Philippine market, demand for Shine products has been steadily increasing. 

“We’ve been entering into partnerships with tennis clubs and other retail outlets,” Del Rosario reveals. “So far, many have shifted to Shine because of the quality and price. Our next goal is to organize tournaments in the provinces.” 

The astounding success of the country in the Southeast Asian Games also helps Shine’s plans to discover the next generation of tennis champions and help them have a better future.

Aperegle is now distributing tennis racquets, balls, strings, overgrip tape, other accessories and some apparel through tennis clubs and other channels nationwide. The brand is a more affordable, competitive alternative to more familiar American brands. Shine will also distribute badminton and basketball products in the Philippines in 2020.

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