Photo: (left to right) Gretchen Ho; Jude Turcuato, PLDT First Vice President – Head of Sports and Executive Director of MVP Sports Foundation
SMART Communications Inc., gathered esteemed sports personalities, media, and special guests for a friendly round of golf games and a day of fellowship for the Philippine sports community at the Smart Sports Invitational, held at The Orchard Golf and Country Club last April 20, 2023.
The sporting event also served as a jumpoff point for promoting Smart’s involvement in the FIBA World Cup Draw, which will take place in Manila on April 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum; and the FIBA in Manila Draw Festival, an all-day street festival celebrating the Filipinos’ love for basketball through performances, activations, and other exciting basketball-themed activities.
Hosted by television presenter and athlete Gretchen Ho and PLDT First Vice President – Head of Sports and Executive Director of MVP Sports Foundation Mr. Jude Turcuato, the Smart Sports Invitational saw the likes of Derek Ramsay, Marlon Stockinger, and Donny Pangilinan play a few friendly rounds of golf, alongside Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann, Chairperson of the Philippine House Committee on Youth and Sports Development and Congressman Faustino Michael Dy of the 6th district of Isabela, Philippine Fencing Association President Richard Gomez, Philippine Amateur Baseball Association President Chito Loyzaga, and Philippine Football Federation President Nonong Araneta.
Mr. Turcuato also discussed the partnership between FIBA and Smart and presented the available FIBA merchandise to the invitational participants. Smart took charge of several key promotional activities leading to the draw and games, including the 3D billboard activation, EDSA “shootboard”, and FIBA-themed bus waiting sheds within Bonifacio Global City.
The invitational also revealed the remaining key events for FIBA in the Philippines, as discussed by Erika Dy, Deputy Event Director – Local Organizing Committee, FIBA World Cup 2023. These include the 100-day game countdown and individual game ticket launch in May, the launch of the Philippine Basketball Hall of Fame in July, and the World Congress for FIBA delegates in August leading to the games.
The FIBA World Cup Draw is the final stop before the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in August. After the event, the groupings of all 32 teams’ part of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will be revealed. FIBA Basketball World Cup Global Ambassador Luis Scola will be present during the event, and local Ambassador from the 2013-2014 Gilas Pilipinas team LA Tenorio will represent the Philippines.
On top of the actual draw, there will be special performances from Sarah Geronimo, Billy Crawford and Fil-Am artist Saweetie. Tickets are now on sale via www.ticketnet.com. The Smart Sports Invitational was made possible through its major sponsors: Toyota, event sponsor of FIBA Basketball World Cup and the official mobility partner of Gilas Pilipinas; Yamaha Motorcycle Philippines, the official lifestyle motorcycle partner of Gilas Pilipinas; and Vision Express Maui Jim.
The event is also sponsored by The Turf Company, GranSportivo, Uratex, Wilcon Depot, At home with Maria, Tissot, Empire Golf & Sports Shop, Okada, Golf X Performance Centre, Solaire Resort and Casino, PAGCOR, Maynilad, Amazon, Palo Alto, Standard Insurance, and Commonwealth Insurance.