Amid their intense training in preparation for the 2020 FIBA 3X3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the national team pool, together with Kiefer Ravena, took time off for a very special mission, Saturday.
Karl Dehesa, Alvin Pasaol, Dylan Ababou, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike, Ryan Monteclaro, Leo De Vera, and Dan Reducto became coaches for the day as Chooks-to-Go and Special Olympics Asia Pacific held the first leg of the "Kaya 'Yan, Manok ng Bayan" Unified Basketball Clinic at The Upper Deck Court in Ortigas, Pasig.
The "Kaya 'Yan, Manok ng Bayan" is Bounty Agro Ventures Incorporated's commitment to the Special Olympics to conducting sports fests and training sessions for people with intellectual disabilities all over the Philippines, as well as a nationwide recruitment drive of PIDs to BAVI’s offices.
"Definitely this inspires all of us to push harder heading into the OQT. Our trainings are tough since we have been practicing twice-a-day for the last two months," said Dehesa.
"Being here made us realize who we are fighting for and that's them."
"This program of Chooks-to-Go is something that is really special to me because we all know how hard it is for PIDs to break-in to our society. Having this is a huge step forward because not only is Boss Ronald [Mascariñas] giving them a program but also giving them a chance to be part of their workforce," added campaign ambassador Ravena.
A total of 50 PIDs participated in the first leg of the camp that saw them learn the basics of 3x3 basketball.
To end the day, the participants were put to the test, competing in an exhibition game against the Chooks-to-Go All-Stars and, later on, a dance-off.
"Super important ito sa amin because nahihirapan kami makakuha ng support. Our mission is to provide year-long sports training for people with intellectual disabilities. Kahit may competition or wala, kailangan namin mag-training. Nahihirapan kaming gawin yun dahil lahat kami ay volunteer -- including our coaches," shared Special Olympics consultant Kaye Samson.
"So natutuwa kami that Bounty committed to giving us venues and coaches. To learn from professional athletes, ibang klaseng pagbabago ng buhay ang mabibigay sa kanila."
BAVI president Mascariñas shared that this is just the start of this program. He vows to bring more athletes, teach more sports, and reach more provinces in the next legs of this program.
"This is just the start of a continuous program for BAVI and the Special Olympics. We plan on heading to the provinces and locate more people with intellectual disabilities to come out and gain confidence through sports," said Mascariñas.
"But it's not just our organization who is committed to this as all of our athletes have pledged to take part in this very special program that is close to our hearts."