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Building true champs in life thru sports

The year 2021 will go down in Philippine sports history as the year of Filipino champions. In the recent Tokyo Olympics, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz brought home the first ever gold medal for the country.

Team Pilipinas also hauled in two silver and one bronze medals – its most successful contingent in over a century. Diaz and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam and Eumir Marcial showed what true Filipino champions are made of, lifting the spirit of the entire nation during a pandemic and igniting hope for what our young athletes can achieve in the future.  

This is exactly the reason why Nestlé continues to build Filipino life champions through sports. Since 1964, Nestlé nourishes the youth with nutritious energy to jump start their own journey to success through the MILO Sports Programs.

It is not surprising that Nestlé has been able to inspire more than 35 million Filipinos to grow with sports and pursue their love for basketball, volleyball, taekwondo, football, swimming, gymnastics, arnis, among others. Look no further with Bea Lucero, Caloy Yulo, Kiefer Ravena, Jamie Lim and Pauline Lopez as some of MILO’s best and most notable athletes.

But sports is not only about competing and getting a podium finish. Former athletes Dr. Micco Sollano and Atty. Madeline Mina proved that champions are not only measured by mere skill, but also by heart and character. Their humble beginnings with Nestlé and MILO Sports programs have been the foundation of their ongoing success. Today, they try to live by these values while pursuing their other passions in life

The fight continues, on and off court 
“I was in Grade School when my mom enrolled me in the MILO BEST Center program,” Dr. Sollano shared.

Founded by Coach Nic Jorge, the MILO BEST Center recognizes sports as an integral part of a child’s growth. The aspiring doctor continued to play basketball, competing in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or UAAP as part of the champion teams of both Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University during his college years. 

“Sports is a great teacher. I learned about discipline and teamwork. I also gained confidence to face challenges, on and off the court,” he emphasized, adding that the whole experience taught him to never give up. A trait, he admits, helped him while pursuing his medical degree later on.

In 2020, however, Dr. Sollano had to dig deeper and flight like he had never done before. “I was the first medical frontliner to test positive for COVID-19. I knew in my heart that I needed to fight because that is how MILO nurtured me,” he said.

He made sure he won this most challenging personal battle yet. Because for Dr. Sollano, other people were counting on frontliners like him and depending on their team to win the fight against COVID.   

Champions are not built overnight

One’s champion journey is never easy. When Atty. Mina’s father enrolled her at 10 years old in MILO Club Gymnastica in Pasig, where Lucero and Yulo also trained, she had to prove to herself that she could do what kids two to four years her junior were already capable of. 

“Hindi siya basta-basta. You have to go through the process of training for a particular skill. Because in progressive trainings, especially for gymnastics, everything will get harder and more complex,” Atty. Mina explained.

She committed herself to train both at home and in the gym to improve her somersaults and stick the landing of her vault routine. And when local and international competitions came, all the hard work to be at the highest competitive level was rewarded with medals and loud cheers of “Go, Madel!” from her family and teammates. 

But after winning in four competitions, Atty. Mina felt like she wanted to give up. Her dream of becoming a champion gymnast in the Olympics remained just that – a dream.

“It was that time when I felt overfatigue and no longer improving. I had to overcome such frustration, that even though I was no longer competing as a gymnast, I could still do what I love as a member of our cheerleading teams in high school and college.”

She went on to join and win titles with her new teammates at the Pasig Catholic College Pep Squad and San Beda Cheerleading Association.   

Struggles, she stressed, are part of the whole journey. “Sometimes being a champion means taking failure in stride, allowing yourself to mourn and picking yourself up again to do better and bounce back higher,” she said. From being a gymnast to becoming a lawyer, Atty. Mina is now focusing her energy by taking part in the speedy administration of justice under the Supreme Court. It is about championing others this time around, she said.

It starts with a champion’s mindset

Nestlé has been championing the health and wellness of Filipino families for 110 years. As Nestlé adapts to the times, Arlene Tan-Bantoto, Senior Vice President and Head of Public Affairs, Sustainability and Communications, said the company has pivoted its MILO Sports program into the MILO Home Court online to continue helping kids stay active and healthy even while at home.

“A champion’s journey starts with fostering a champion’s mindset. As the Kasambuhay of Filipino families, Nestlé is excited to build the next generation of true champions while cheering them on at every stage of their journey.

It may have been five decades since Nestlé launched its first MILO Sports program but the determination, discipline and self-confidence that it has instilled in millions of Filipino youth through sports will, hopefully, prepare them to become champions in life,” Tan-Bantoto said.

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Ateneo, UP face off again for UAAP title

December 7, 2022 9:54 p.m.

For the second straight season, it will be Ateneo de Manila University versus University of the Philippines in the UAAP men’s basketball finals.

Moments after the Fighting Maroons escaped National University, the Blue Eagles thrashed Adamson University, 81-60, to advance to its sixth consecutive Finals appearance on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Game One of the best-of-three championship series will be on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“We had our best offensive performance of the year. I think when you get some time to prepare and your opponent doesn’t have much time and they were playing on heart, they were playing on Nash’s brain, and all of those things they have a ton of,” said Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin.

“But the cauldron of the semifinals you need more than that you need time to prepare, you need rest, and you need a full team hitting on all cylinders and tonight we were that team,” continued Baldwin.

Already ahead by eight early in the third period, Dave Ildefonso scored eight straight points before Ange Kouame and Chris Koon connived to end the quarter with 19 unanswered points and give Ateneo a 27-point advantage heading into the fourth, 63-36.

Sean Quitevis then opened the payoff frame with another trey to put the Blue Eagles up by 30 with 9:14 left, 66-36, before Jed Colonia made the Soaring Falcons’ first basket in nine minutes with 8:30 to go. Jerom Lastimosa last scored on a layup at the 7:27 mark of the third.

Forthsky Padrigao had 16 points and five assists, while Koon was 4-of-5 from deep to end with 15 points to go with five assists and a plus-21 in his 19 minutes on the floor.

Kai Ballungay chimed in 13 points, while Ildefonso had 11 points and nine rebounds.

Lastimosa was the lone Falcon in double figures with 10 points on a woeful 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

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Adamson eliminates La Salle, claims last seat in Final 4

December 4, 2020 10:11 p.m.

Adamson University knocked out De La Salle University, 80-76, to grab the last Final Four spot in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Soaring Falcons will face top seed Ateneo de Manila University, which holds a twice-to-beat edge, in the Final Four on Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We’re happy to be in the Final Four. We’re actually gatecrashing the Final Four. People didn’t expect us to be in the Final Four, they expected I don’t know what you call them… big spenders. To me, they’re all big spenders but I’m happy the team did their part,” said Adamson coach Nash Racela.

“We will check our emotions because we don’t want to be in a high because may trabaho pa and we’re still gonna play Wednesday and the weekend,” he added.

With the Falcons down by a single point, Lenda Douanga took matters into his own hands, draining a push shot before dishing to Cedrick Manzano the next play for the reverse layup and a three-point Adamson lead with 58.8 seconds left, 77-74.

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After multiple empty possessions on both ends, Evan Nelle came up clutch, stealing Joem Sabandal’s inbound and burying a lay-in to pull La Salle within one with 15.4 ticks to go, 76-77.

The Green Archers were forced to put Jerom Lastimosa on the line in the ensuing play, which the Soaring Falcon made both to push them up by three anew, 79-76, before Nelle missed his three-pointer attempt badly, only hitting the side of the board as Joshua Yerro iced the game from the charity stripe.

La Salle led by as much as 13 in the third frame, 51-38, but Lastimosa went ballistic, going for 11 from his 22 points there to help Adamson inch within one at the end of the quarter, 59-60.

Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa

Lastimosa also added six assists and a steal, while Yerro had 13 points and six rebounds.

AP Manlapaz chimed in 22 points, while Douanga got 10 points and seven rebounds.

In the sudden death playoff for fourth seed, the Green Archers did not have three of their best players in Schonny Winston, Mike Phillips, and Kevin Quiambao.

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URCC 81: Decades of Success happens Dec. 6 in Okada

November 27, 2022 7:22 p.m.

THE Universal Reality Combat Championship will celebrate two decades of greatness titled the “Decades of Success” in a fight night on December 6, featuring the country’s best mixed martial artists at the Okada Manila in Parañaque City. 

Three years since the last time they held their last main event, URCC founding president Alvin Aguilar announced the coming URCC 81 will definitely be a night to remember with events like the 3 Versus 3, MMA fight and the bare-knuckle bouts.

“Our first main event in three years will definitely be an unforgettable night in mixed martial arts. We have a lot of good fighters and everyone is very excited,” Aguilar said. 

The last time URCC held a main event — Retribution— was in November 2019, at the same venue. Despite the pandemic, URCC didn’t stop as it held three fight nights when the government finally allowed contact sports. 

In celebrating URCC’s main event return, Aguilar will be having Team Philippines of Sugar Ray “Mammoth” Estroso, Caloy “Bad Boy” Baduria and Boss Bullet Manliclic taking up against South Koreans Jeong Minhun, Choi Wontae and Jeon Youngjun in an exciting 3 versus 3 event.

“We have to go up against other Asian countries before we start expanding. So we meet Korea then later on China again and then we will invite people from Russia and the USA. This is the fourth time we will be holding this 3 versus 3 fight,” Aguilar said, who also expects the other events to live up to the hype.

A URCC welterweight interim championship is also set between Filipino Arvin Chan and American Will Chope as the other highlight of the main event presented by Okada Manila and sponsored by Winzir.

URCC Global Chairman Arnold Vegafria said the promotions have been evolving since 2002, becoming a household name in the local mixed martial arts industry, where it discovered great MMA fighters and promoted quality fights abroad. 

For inquiries about tickets sale, go to www.urcc.online and download app https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top which is available for iOS and Google.

Other MMA undercard bouts feature Dunlee Stewart facing John Tirona in a 170 lbs bout, followed by Gester Maglaque meeting Mariano Jones in an 185 lbs bout; Kimbert Alintozon battling Junie Kimayong (125 lbs); Rhyle Lugo clashing against Alex Aballe (145 lbs) and Eros Baluyot taking on MJ Abrillo (125 lbs). 

For the thrilling bare-knuckle competitions, Damsa Abrenica collides with Joseph “King Pinoy” Cabral, while Dondon Serrano squares off with Sherwin Niro and Denzel Dimaguila fights Mark Jalaron.  

Details of the fight and future fight cards are available to download at https://apps.wix.com/place-invites/join-lp/b4e05b90-55a0-40a8-8fac-17ccf4a2c074?ref=pre_banner_top, which is available for iOS and Google.

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