Freeman Cebu Sports

Inspired to Serve, Bayanihan

BLEACHER TALK - Rico Navarro - The Freeman

When we wrote the story “Good Deeds Are Contagious” for our May 26 sports page, it dawned upon me that in this time of pandemic, service, charity and concern for others is very much alive. This particular story was about the pledge of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. (BAVI), better known as the makers “Chooks to Go,” to donate 5,000 pieces of Bounty Fresh dressed chicken to CESAFI officials, coaches, medics, utility crew, security guards and venue personnel. The first batch of deliveries were made last week, with all recipients flashing ear-to-ear smiles and unanimously commenting, “Dagko-a gud ani.” BAVI president Ronald Mascariñas is no stranger to sports at the national level, so his pledge to help a regional league is a most welcome whiff of fresh air. The key here was how he was inspired by CESAFI’s providing food baskets to its coaches, officials, support and utility teams. “We admire the efforts of CESAFI management in looking after the welfare of athletes and officials during this most difficult time. They are truly an inspiration,” Mascariñas said. For his part, the Cebuano hotshot, Councilor Dondon Hontiveros, also made a donation to the same CESAFI crew. (Happy birthday Konsehal!)

Closer to home, the Sacred Heart School Mango campus gym, Cebu’s busiest venue for basketball and volleyball, was converted to a quarantine facility, the Bayanihan Cebu Field Center-SHS. The Facebook page “Bayanihan Cebu PH” states that the field center was set up to “house COVID-19 patients exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms” and  “to help decongest the hospitals from patients that do not necessarily require immediate hospital confinement.” The three-court gym is booked daily for pick up and tournament games, and also serves as the home of Cebu youth basketball on weekends. And for the basketball and volleyball groups that play at this gym regularly, “losing” its home-court was tough, but the decision was a no-brainer.

The Bayanihan Cebu PH movement is a united front composed of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Regional Developmental Council-R7, Department of Health-R7, SHS-Ateneo de Cebu, the Society of Jesus, Archdiocese of Cebu, Cebu Caritas Inc., LH Foundation Inc. and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. It doesn’t come as a surprise then that key people of these organizations are alumni of then Sacred Heart School for Boys and the current administration of their alma mater. The UP Medical Alumni Society Cebu Chapter also helped out in the construction of the field center. In a conversation I had with Dr. Tony San Juan, he mentioned how the planners made sure that the field center met certain standards and would be well-equipped to fulfill its mission, including its floor plan, lay-out, equipment and traffic flow. He also introduced the terms “negative pressure” and “HEPA” (not hepatitis). Negative air pressure is “a technique used by hospitals that prevents cross-contamination by allowing air to flow through HEPA filters before escaping the enclosed fully air-conditioned facility.” And what is HEPA? “A medical grade HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter is made from highly efficient filter paper that removes harmful air particles. This filters the air inside the enclosed fully air-conditioned facility before it flows out to avoid the spread of the virus to the neighboring community,” the primer on its FB page stated. As of June 4, the 48-bed facility has recorded 15 recoveries with 39 beds currently occupied. Meanwhile, another quarantine facility with a 130-bed capacity has also been established at the bigger Bayanihan Cebu IEC Field Center in Mabolo.

These two centers illustrate the bayanihan spirit in full display. The most impressive thing about Bayanihan Cebu PH is that everything in place has been donated by various organizations or private individuals. Check out their Facebook page and you’ll see a complete list of donors and what they donated for the project. Transparent. Clear. Professional. The way it should be. Basketball and volleyball may have taken a back seat at the SHS Mango campus gym, but it’s all for a great and noble cause.

Did you say more? John Paul “Jp” Maunes of the Philippine Accessible Disability Services Inc. (PADS), is selling juicy, melt-in-the-mouth double (and triple) patty burgers online through Dubby’s Ultimate Burgers. So what? His crew is composed of athletes with disabilities from PADS and its dragon boat team (many who were displaced). The burgers are sold out daily that our order had to be politely turned down and deferred to the following day with Jp delivering it himself. SWU-PHINMA Coach Jerry Abuyabor was featured on a national sports website selling Bounty Fresh dressed chicken to raise funds for his outreach projects. The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) also provided cash aid to its active SBP referees in the region (and nationwide). Former CESAFI MVP and champion Jaybie Mantilla is also doing his share as the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman of Barangay Suba. The Freeman’s sports editor Manny Villaruel wrote in a recent article, “Mantilla is dribbling basketball out of his mind because of the global health crisis. He focuses much of his time and energy to community service as SK chairman, which is still under ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) due to high number of Covid-19 cases.”

I’m certain that there are more great but unpublished deeds being carried out by various sportsmen in this time of pandemic. We salute all of you, big or small, and pray that the Lord pay you a hundredfold. Truly, we heal as one!


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