Athletes like Terrence Romeo (R), Jia Morado (C) and Kevin Love are becoming real-life heroes amid the cornavirus pandemic
Opinion: Athletes turn into real-life heroes in these trying times
Luisa Morales ( - April 1, 2020 - 1:07pm

MANILA, Philippines – Athletes around the world are taking their on-court heroics into the real world.

Like many aspects of normal life, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put the entire sports world on hold.

Major tournaments — both local and international — have felt the brunt of suspensions and even outright cancelations of their seasons.

But as always when we encounter problems in life, there is a silver lining.

Amid the chaos of the virus threat, sports personalities have taken it upon themselves to contribute in their own little ways.

From heroes on the court or on the pitch, athletes across the globe have become champions in everyday life — giving for the greater good in different ways.

While it is dangerous to romanticize a world crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, it does not hurt to look at the bright side of things.

Dishing dimes to frontliners

A number of local sports stars have been leading the charge in creating fundraisers for frontliners combating the coronavirus.

National team setter Jia Morado, along with her partner Miguel de Guzman, set up "Every Little Thing Counts" — an initiative that aims to provide personal protective equipment (PPEs) and N95 masks to hospitals dealing with COVID-19 cases.

Morado hosted a number of jersey auctions, including her own jersey, to raise funds. She also encouraged her followers to donate through GCash and has amassed at least Php349,000 as of posting time.

PBA player Terrence Romeo also dished out assists to Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

The San Miguel cager reportedly donated 100 meals to frontliners along with much-needed medical supplies amid the pandemic.

Internationally, a number of sports teams and athletes are also helping the cause.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is helping provide childcare support for frontliners combating the virus.

Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns, whose mother and father are both affected by COVID-19, also donated $100,000 to a clinic in Minnesota to help in virus testing.

Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to test positive for the virus, donated $500,000 to various causes.

Spanish sports stars Pau Gasol and Rafael Nadal also made their own efforts to raise funds for COVID-19 hit Spain.

Real-world MVPs

Apart from providing supplies and donations to frontliners, a number of sports personalities have lent a hand to workers affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Charity organization "May Twenty Ako" rallied a number of players across different sports in the country through jersey auctions, in an effort to raise funds to purchase hygiene kits and grocery items for the less fortunate.

Athletes featured in the "May Twenty Ako" jersey auction are UP's Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, Rain or Shine's Javee Mocon, DLSU Lady Spikers' Michelle Cobb and UST's Renzo Subido.

PBA players like CJ Perez, Cliff Hodge and Chris Ross, meanwhile, are providing assistance to PBA personnel who are affected by the season stoppage.

Alaska Aces head coach Jeff Cariaso was the first to initiate the cause in the league.

Cariaso, Perez, Hodge and Ross are following in the footsteps of NBA players like Kevin Love and Zion Williamson who are also supporting arena staff during the coronavirus shutdown.

Besides supporting arena staff, other NBA cagers like LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma are reaching out to feed their own communities affected by the virus.

Even the Philippine Sports Commission itself is lending a hand in the fight against the coronavirus, making its venues available for quarantine sites.

Other athletes are also using their influence to encourage people to stay at home and treat the pandemic very seriously.

With rivalries and hostilities set aside, the world of sports is uniting against one common enemy.

As their normal schedules and environments take a drastic change, athletes are playing their own part in making the world a safer place.

In the words made famous by James' athlete empowerment brand Uninterrupted, sports men and women across the globe are proving themselves "more than an athlete" during this global crisis.

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