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NBA, Rakuten partner to bring Warriors, Wizards to Japan for 2 pre-season NBA games in 2022

March 15, 2022 3:13 p.m.

TOKYO AND NEW YORK — The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Rakuten Group, Inc. today announced that the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards will play two preseason games in Japan in 2022.

The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten will take place Friday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 2 at Saitama Super Arena and will mark the league’s 15th and 16th games in the country.

The announcement was made today at a press conference in Tokyo by Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy. Silver and Levy participated via live video conference.

Tickets for the games will go on sale at a later date. Fans can register their interest in tickets and gain access to presale information here.

The six-time NBA champion Warriors currently feature two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, five-time NBA All-Star Klay Thompson, and 2017 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star Draymond Green. The Wizards currently feature three-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal, 2018 NBA All-Star Kristaps Porziņģis and 2020 NBA All-Rookie Second Team member Rui Hachimura, who in 2019 became the first Japanese player in league history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. The Warriors and Wizards will both be making their first visits to Japan.

The NBA Japan Games 2022 Presented by Rakuten will livestream in Japan on the NBA Rakuten service and will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories on television, digital media and social media. The games will also be supported by a roster of marketing and merchandising partners. Leading up to the games, the league and its partners will also conduct interactive fan activities, Jr. NBA programming and NBA Cares community outreach initiatives.

Between 1990 and 2003, the NBA staged 12 regular-season games in Japan in Saitama City, Tokyo and Yokohama. The matchup between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz in Tokyo on Nov. 2, 1990 marked the first regular-season game played outside of North America by a U.S. sports league. The NBA last played games in Japan in 2019, when Rakuten and the NBA partnered to bring the Houston Rockets and the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors to the country for two preseason games.

In 2017, the NBA and Rakuten announced a groundbreaking partnership that made Rakuten a global marketing partner of the NBA and the league’s exclusive live-game distribution partner in Japan. NBA Rakuten, the one-stop destination for fans in Japan to watch NBA games and programming, currently offers viewers exclusive access to the 2021-22 NBA season. Additionally, Rakuten operates the NBA Zone on Rakuten Ichiba, Japan’s leading e-commerce platform, which features select NBA and team merchandise. Rakuten is also an official partner of the Golden State Warriors, a relationship that began in 2017 when the Warriors welcomed Rakuten as the team’s first-ever jersey partner.

The NBA’s presence in Japan dates back more than 30 years. NBA games and programming have aired in Japan since the 1988-89 season, and officially licensed NBA merchandise is widely available at more than 700 retail stores across the country and through NBAStore.jp, the official online NBA store in Japan. In addition to live games, the league has conducted a number of events in Japan, including interactive fan events, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives, and in 2012 and 2019, Basketball Without Borders, the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program.

Executive Quotes:

Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani:
“For nearly five years, our partnership with the NBA has united fans across Japan and contributed to the further growth of the global basketball community. Rakuten firmly believes in the power of sport to bring people and communities together, which is so essential in today’s global society. We are thrilled with this great opportunity to bring NBA games back to Japan, this time with the Golden State Warriors, our official partners, and the Washington Wizards.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:
“We are excited to once again bring preseason games to our fans in Japan. There is great momentum around NBA basketball in the country and we thank Mickey and Rakuten for their continued efforts to further grow the sport.”

NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy:
“Since 2017, Rakuten has brought the excitement of the NBA directly to fans in Japan through a variety of unique experiences, including as the league’s exclusive distribution partner. Through this latest chapter in our longstanding partnership, the NBA and Rakuten will offer Japanese fans the opportunity to witness a thrilling matchup between the Warriors and the Wizards in an event that promises to be a singular moment for Japanese basketball.”

Golden State Warriors CEO & Co-Executive Chairman Joe Lacob:
“We are extremely appreciative that the NBA has selected the Warriors and the Wizards, two franchises with illustrious histories in our league, to tip off the 2022 NBA preseason in Japan, home of some of the most incredibly passionate NBA fans in the world. During our four-plus year partnership with Rakuten, we’ve had the pleasure of building many impactful relationships throughout Japan, and some of our players, including Stephen Curry, have thoroughly enjoyed recent visits to Tokyo and the interactions they’ve shared with basketball fans who love the game. This unique bond with both our partners and our fans will continue to strengthen during the Japan Games, and we couldn’t be more excited and honored to experience the incredible Japanese culture as a group. This game truly unites all of us across the globe.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder & CEO Ted Leonsis:
“We are so honored to represent the NBA and the wonderful game of basketball in front of an audience of Japanese fans. We are particularly excited to watch Rui Hachimura play in front of his fellow Japanese citizens. We were proud to welcome him into the DC Family nearly three years ago as a dynamic young talent and have only seen his growth as a player since. And our fans across our home market in Washington D.C. have a special connection to the Japanese people – marked by our annual celebration of the gift of cherry trees given to our city by the Mayor of Tokyo over 100 years ago. Celebrating American and Japanese cultures further strengthens our bonds and so we look forward to taking on the Golden State Warriors and growing new fans of the sport we all love.”

NEWS

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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BingoPlus Foundation’s FutureSmart Scholarship Program 2022 funds 10 IT scholars

Nov. 21, 2022 12:51 p.m.

BingoPlus Foundation Inc., the corporate arm of leisure entertainment brand BingoPlus, has made education one of its causes to support with a PhP6 million scholarship granted to iACADEMY under its FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program. 

Officers of the Foundation signed an agreement with representatives of iACADEMY to sponsor ten students last November 2 at the head office of Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) at Tektite Building in Pasig. 

With its specialization in the field of information technology, iACADEMY was seen as the perfect partner school for BP Foundation as it aligns well with the Foundation’s vision to create IT-competent professionals in the future. BingoPlus Foundation firmly believes that education and technology are important components of nation-building and has thus prioritized the FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program as one of its top Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives of the year. 

Through the scholarship, the Foundation aims to address some challenges faced by the education sector to provide more and better educational opportunities to the younger generation and thus leave its footprint in the building of a better society. 

LRWC President Andy Tsui said, “We wish to inspire the younger generation and make their dreams come true.” 

“We are truly honored to welcome iACADEMY as a new partner, and we’re grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute to keeping students on the path towards a brighter future,” said Jasper Vicencio, President of BingoPlus and Trustee of BingoPlus Foundation Inc.

The FutureSmart Scholarship 2022 Program will be launched in the current school year of iACADEMY. 

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Game on! SM Christmas Village is back—and bigger than ever

November 17, 2022 3:50 p.m.

We’re calling it: Christmas 2022 is going to be one for the books. 

The past two years saw Filipinos dialing down on the holiday celebrations as we exercised caution against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It’s no easy feat, too, given that our Pasko is easily the biggest event of the year. The good—no, aweSM—news? This 2022, SM is set to give you a Christmas comeback like no other with the return of the SM Christmas Village, now on its second year!

In case you didn’t know: SM Supermalls is the very first mall in the Philippines to venture into the metaverse, giving you the first mobile brand rewards app that provides customers with fun and exciting ways to score amazing deals, earn free shopping money, and win wow-worthy prizes—anytime, anywhere!

And here’s proof of just how amazing it is: The pilot run of the ChristmaSaya Village in 2021 recently won four accolades at this year’s Vega Awards, earning nods for outstanding innovation in the digital and virtual realm. Wowza!

Enter the Mall-tiverse
Here’s how it works: To join, a user simply has to register for an account online via smmetaverse.world. Once registered, you gain access to the virtual SM Christmas Village, where you can explore different zones, interact with other players, and collect virtual coins to unlock exclusive shopping vouchers and earn raffle entries. And just like at SM Supermalls nationwide, #YoureAlwaysWelcomeHere

Excited for supercharged virtual fun? Here’s a quick look at what’s in store for you this year:

  • Bigger rewards, bigger prizes 

If you loved last year’s vouchers, you’re in for even better rewards this time. SM has partnered with more of your favorite brands to give you exclusive shopping discounts and deals (a total of ₱2M worth of vouchers are up for grabs!) and is set to give away a whopping ₱1M worth of raffle prizes. Plus, one lucky winner will drive home the ultimate Christmas gift: a brand new Suzuki S-Presso!

  • An expansive game world awaits
    Your gaming experience gets a level up with improved game designs and an exciting game world featuring new areas to explore—from shopping and dining zones to entertainment zones—like you’re really at an SM Supermall! Experience augmented reality malling, e-meet friends, and play fun games to earn virtual coins. Before that, have fun customizing your own avatar down to the hair, outfit, and accessories (shopping bag, included), so you can create a character that’s uniquely you. 
  • Enjoy fresh in-game features
    Get your family members in on the Christmas fever with the multiplayer option and stay connected while you play with the new chat and video-calling features. (Looking at you, social butterflies!) Be on the lookout for pop-ups, too, featuring special brand deets and surprise deals with every visit.
  • Earn shopping money every day

The more virtual coins you collect in-app, the more “shopping money” you get, which you can use to redeem vouchers from your favorite brands. Once you’ve claimed your vouchers virtually, you can use them at participating SM Mall branches nationwide—to pay for your Christmas shopping, dining, and more! You can also use your coins to unlock raffle entries and win one of the 20 major prizes at the end of the year. 

Some tips! 

  • Visit the village every day to earn more coins faster.
  • Excited to shop? You can spend your coins as soon as you earn them, but it pays to be patient, too. By accumulating your coins first, you’ll be able to redeem bigger rewards later on!
  • Make sure to explore all the zones and keep an eye out for hidden treasures and bonuses. 

A Christmas to remember

With restrictions easing up and COVID-19 vaccination rates at an encouraging high, this year’s holiday season surely is shaping up to be one to look forward to. If you’re jonesing for some real-life Christmas fun, though, you won’t be disappointed when you take a break from the metaverse and make your way to your favorite SM Supermalls instead! From the light shows and holiday centerpieces to all sorts of Christmas attractions, all things merry and bright await you and the whole family—and it all starts now! Check out all the holiday happenings here and have a #HappyChristmasAtSM!

The #SMChristmasVillage2022 will run from October 28, 2022 to January 5, 2023. Voucher redemption will be until January 31, 2023.

To stay updated on all things SM, follow SM Supermalls on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. SM implements strict #SafeMallingAtSM protocols nationwide and offers convenient shopping options via the SM Malls Online app, The SM Store, and ShopSM. (You can read more here.) For updates on mall hours and entry guidelines, click here

Hop into our mall-tiverse and score ₱3M worth of vouchers and prizes!
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