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A vision in sports

IT always fills your heart with unbridled joy when longtime friends, who are passionate about a particular sport and do everything they can to popularize it and eventually succeed in reaping their just rewards.

We have always been supportive of the Shakey’s V League and the remarkable dedication and efforts of Moying Martelino, Ricky Palou and Tony Liao of Sports Vision, an entity first conceived by the three gentleman and their anchor in many respects, the late Emilio  “Jun” Bernardino, the long-running Commissioner of the highly successful Philippine Basketball Association.

It does seem a little odd that men steeped in basketball like Bernardino, Palou and Martelino would embark on a mission to build interest in women’s volleyball and to grow the sport in a sustained effort with the help of entities such as Shakey’s, whose original owner was the eminent businessman-sportsman Leo Prieto who, coincidentally, was the first Commissioner of the PBA and manager of the Philippine National Team that competed in the  Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia and finished seventh behind the United States, the Soviet Union  and Uruguay.

This is in itself a tribute to these fine gentlemen to whom sports was an all-encompassing love that covered more than one primary discipline.

Such men of substance are rare in these times. And what is truly commendable in the case of Sports Vision and the Shakey’s V League is that they never abandoned the project no matter how hard it was and how difficult it remained in the formative years to make inroads in terms of sponsorships and marketing and to effectively bear the financial burdens of running a league and ensuring television and print coverage that would tell the story of a pioneering venture in the finest possible manner.

The TV coverage as we knew it even when it was telecast on a delayed basis over the government network NBN 4 and replayed on the Viva cable channel was a success in many ways as people began to talk about the V-League and teams from the Visayas and Mindanao regions showed interest in participating and helped boost a nationwide audience.

The matches were good and the telecast even better, with panelists who knew the game and told the story in understandable terms and in an exciting fashion.

Sports is essentially fun and entertainment and the Shakey’s V League mirrored the twin requirements more especially now as it is being telecast on GMA TV with panelists who are alive, totally enthusiastic and certainly knowledgeable.

With the Armed Forces entering the fray together with PLDT, volleyball fans have been assured of excellent and competitive games, day in and day out.

We have always believed that the various branches of our Armed Forces should put a premium on staying fit by playing different sports and in competing whenever they have a chance to, thereby also presenting a wholesome image of the men and women who defend our country and our individual and collective lives and freedom.

Beyond that it teaches our men and women in uniform to enhance their discipline, which is an intrinsic requirement whether it be in the military or in sports and to underscore the need for hard work, dedication and sportsmanship.

It’s a question of values and virtues and Sports Vision in its advocacy has done that in a quiet, but commendable fashion.

When  we saw the cheering throngs on television and the photos in the newspapers and various internet sites and followed a growing constituency on the social media networks, it was a gratifying feeling because we know how much the Sports Vision people, including the people who managed the little things in the office on game days, like Cesar and  Mila Malapitan, put into the V-League on a consistent basis with a love for the product and a commitment that served as a beacon to others in Philippine  Sports to think not of themselves and their personal success, but to help serve the public interest and share the ultimate joy that helps glorify sports and the dimensions of human  excellence our athletes strive for.

Sports Vision and those who support this noble endeavor can be proud of what they have achieved which will, we fervently hope, drive them on to greater things and happier moments in sports.

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