Spain's LaLiga fetes PBA, Philippine football body for community projects

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Spain's LaLiga fetes PBA, Philippine football body for community projects
Awardees of LaLiga's Heroes Off the Pitch join representatives from LaLiga during the gala night at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on Thursday
Philstar.com / Luisa Morales

MANILA, Philippines – The PBA and the Philippine Football Federation hogged the spotlight as recipients of LaLiga's inaugural Heros Off the Pitch awards in a gala night at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati on Thursday.

The event is the Spanish football league’s way of recognizing efforts in the sports industry as they gave back to their communities.

Three projects were awarded for basketball, men's football and women's football, and they also received a €1,000 grant to continue funding such activities.

The PBA along with TikTok and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were given the award for the Daungan Cuatro Project, which they carried out last December.

The project saw the PBA gifting a Navotas community with a newly refurbished court.

"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa LaLiga sa award na ito, sa binigay sa amin. At kami ng LaLiga, on and off the court, maasahan niyo po kami," PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said during the gala night.

For men's football, Gawad Kalinga and the US Embassy in Manila were recognized for "Project SPORTS LEAD: Climate Change Awareness Through Soccer" where children are educated about the effects of the climate crisis through the sport.

"We're so grateful. That was the first project that we worked together with the US Embassy. It's so nice that [LaLiga] were able to support the grant that we proposed to them," said Marlyn Importante of Gawad Kalinga.

"Since that our strength is community and the youth, if we wanted to change something or promote something, the best [is to do it with] the youth," she added.

Wrapping up the awardees for the night is the PFF's Pinoy5: Liga Eskwela project done with the Moran Foundation, MVP Group Foundation and Philippine Sports Commission.

Liga Eskwela looks to promote futsal among public schools across the country for young girls and aims to develop a competitive national team for women's futsal.

LaLiga delegate to the Philippines Almudena Gomez shared the selection process for the awardees.

"In LaLiga, obviously, we are football but we are more than that. We are leaders in sports and entertainment and we believe that the sport goes beyond what goes on the football field," she said.

"We also have a responsibility in giving back to our community. We believe sports is a great tool to do that and in the Philippines, we wanted to award those projects, those athletes, and those organizations that are working not only this past year, but also in the previous years, to give back to their communities using not only football but also other sports to educate, to transfer all the values for their communities," she added.

LaLiga has had a presence in the country since 2018, but it is the first time that they awarded the Heroes Off the Pitch in the country.

Gomez bared that the elite football league plans to hold the awards on an annual basis.

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