Game-changer for Gameville
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2020 - 12:00am

Over 20 years ago, a basketball enthusiast who dabbled in playing and coaching in Pasig leagues put up a company called Gameville to produce quality customized sportswear. Before long, Gameville gained a reputation for its personalized craftsmanship as a pioneer in the business of printing designs on jerseys, shorts and jackets along with Botak and LGR.

Gameville founder Dioni Balagbagan wasn’t a PBA-calber player or coach but his love for the game inspired him to dream of creating a “sports village” through an athletic apparel provider that would cater to one big basketball family. C. J. Alcazar, who takes care of Gameville’s marketing, said that’s how the company name came about.

As time went on, Gameville was contracted by major sports brands to supply apparel to teams in various leagues, including the PBA and UAAP. The company also hooked up with one of the biggest customized sportswear retailers in the US to export its products and grew to employ over 300 workers in a factory in Cainta.

Then came the pandemic. Because of its export orientation, Gameville was allowed to continue production by following IATF quarantine guidelines but the market called for a strategic twist. Alcazar said Gameville and its overseas partners agreed to refocus production to make PPEs.

“Within the first week of the lockdown, we produced and donated 25,000 washable facemasks to various barangays,” said Alcazar. “Eventually, we made and donated 3,000 PPE overall suits to different hospitals, clinics and checkpoints. The recipients included PCGH, Child’s Hope, Caritas, Philippine Orthopedic, Navotas Hospital, Tarlac General Hospital, Ospital Ng Angeles, Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, Cainta Hospitals and frontliners in Cainta and Baliuag.”

Alcazar said the factory now operates at 50 to 60 percent of manpower capacity. With no dormitory, Gameville worked out a schedule to pick up workers and bring them home in service vans. “We do testing, impose health protocols, provide disinfecting alcohol and keep our workers safe,” he said. “It’s challenging but we’re determined. Some of our sewers work from home if they have sewing machines and equipment.” 

When the budget for donations ran out, Gameville was suddenly deluged by orders for facemasks and PPEs. “That was the time we knew our initial distribution of the protective suits was only the beginning so we started to take orders, selling the suits at cost to pay only for labor and materials,” said Alcazar. “We catered our suits to different hospitals nationwide and took in orders from Metro Manila, Rizal, Davao, Tarlac, Batangas, Surigao, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Benguet, Cagayan de Oro, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Cebu, La Union, Isabela, Baguio, Laguna, Cavite, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Catanduanes, Samar, Capiz, Iloilo, Leyte, North Cotabato, Quezon and Sultan Kudarat. We made suits for Security Bank tellers, dentist organizations, sanitizing groups and companies, funeral parlors, Ateneo and other alumni, individual and company fund-raising groups, OFW nurses in Italy and the US, military frontliners and individuals who visit hospitals for check-ups and maintenance.”

Alcazar said with a lot of local apparel companies switching to produce PPEs, supply of raw material became a concern. “As we struggled to get a consistent supply, we called Rochas Textile, our long-time partner in making sportswear, to help us develop a water-repellant material for PPEs,” he said. “Right after ECQ, Richmond made the material we needed. Now, we can produce 100 percent locally made PPE suits with material that is four-way stretch, breathable and durable. Our products include two-layered washable facemasks, PPE suits with silver back lining and pro-tech jackets.”

Alcazar said the pandemic has been a game-changer for Gameville. “As a clothing company, we may not find a cure for the disease but at least, we can do our part,” he said. “It is fulfilling because making PPEs allows us to provide livelihood for our employees and to support our communities. We originally identified ourselves as a sportswear factory but today, we are more than that. We have been suiting top athletes in their games but now, we are suiting the frontliners in the time of their greatest need. We feel proud to be a part of their work in saving lives.” Gameville’s management is composed of founder Dioni, Madel Miranda, Abbey Balagbagan, Arlene Balagbagan and Alcazar. For inquiries on how to order Gameville’s products, contact Alcazar at cell +639179093542. 

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