UP Fighting Maroons helps frontliners, poor families affected by COVID-19 pandemic

HSBC Philippines
UP Fighting Maroons
The UP Men’s Basketball Team cheers up healthcare frontliners at PGH and NIH. Photo from UPMBT.

The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) has been staying in fighting form despite the halt of games around the world to stop the spread of COVID-19, by assisting frontliners and the poor affected by the lockdown.

The celebrated UP Fighting Maroons recently went on a “Zoomustahan” session on May 8, 2020, and later posted on their social media to cheer on healthcare frontliners from the UP – Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH), the UP National Institutes of Health (UP NIH), as well as provincial-based and international health professionals

The UP MBT, led by head coach Bo Perasol and team captain Noah Webb, with Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, James Spencer, David Murrell, Joe Gomez de Liaño, Jboy Gob, CJ Catapusan, Brix Ramos, Matt Santiago, Ethan Kirkness, Sam Dowd, Malik Diouf, joined the Zoom video call with doctors, health care professionals, and scientists to deliver messages of gratitude and encouragement.

Coach Bo pledged the team’s all-out support to the frontliners and offered their assistance in whatever way possible.

UP MBT star players Kobe Paras gave a message of thanks to the frontliners for their sacrifices and bravery. “While we are here sitting in our homes, comfortable, you are out there risking your lives for us so I want to say thank you,” said Paras.

Ricci Rivero said they were “really grateful for everything you are doing for our country and our fellow Filipinos. Sobrang saludo po kami sa inyo. We are doing this Zoomustahan with you para naman po makapagshare kami ng konting good vibes sa inyo kahit for a few minutes lang. We’re facing this really big challenge and nandito lang po kami to listen to you, extend our support and continue to pray for you. Hoping for your safety and for sure kakayanin natin ‘to, babangon tayong lahat,” Ricci Rivero said in his salute to the frontliners and offered good vibes and prayers to uplift their spirits.

The Zoomustahan video call gathered UP MBT players, coaches, and doctors, scientists, and healthcare professionals from the UP PGH and UP NIH.

The Zoom call was joined by UP PGH director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, long-time UP supporter Dr. Edgar Eufemio, Dr. Anthony Geronimo Cordero, Dr. Louricha Opina-Tan, former Fighting Maroon Dr. Czarlo Dela Victoria, and interns and nurses on the PGH side.

UP-NIH health workers and laboratory personnel led by UP Manila Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology science research specialist Stessi Geganzo also chatted with the team and thanked the UPMBT for their thoughtful gesture and the good vibes.

“This is really a treat for us – to see faces that are not sick,” quipped Dr. Legaspi. “We are getting all the support that you’re giving us and you keep us inspired to move on. It’s really amazing how the whole UP community stood up to the challenge and are helping us get through this. We’re looking forward to your first game.”

Dr. Anthony Cordero of the UP Manila Community Health and Development Program delivered a gratitude message on behalf of Dr. Carmencita Padilla, chancellor of UP Manila.

Prior to the call, members of the varsity basketball team and its support network from NowhereToGoButUP Foundation initiated donation drives and relief efforts to assist frontliners, people severely affected by the pandemic, as well as stranded UP dormers.

In a Facebook video posted on April 30, the UP MBT members and network were seen with their various projects.

Ricci Rivero and his family made several rounds of relief drives in Isabela.

Among those who raised funds and donated in-kind are UP Fighting Maroons Paul Desiderio, Jett Manuel, Diego Dario, Kyles Lao, Jarrell Lim, Ibrahim Ouattara, Jaybie Mantilla, the Gomez de Liaño brothers, Joe, Javi, and Juan, and Ricci Rivero who made several rounds to give relief to both frontliners and needy families in his hometown in Isabela.

NowheretogobutUP Foundation, the UP College of Human Kinetics (CHK), and the Salamat PH Healthcare Heroes also conducted fundraisers to help the frontliners, stranded UP students and staff, and various communities.

“There is so much uncertainty right now and these are extremely difficult times for many Filipinos. That’s why this is the time to be one with our people as we all go through these hardships together. Let’s all do our share in helping one another. Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected. The goal of resilience is to thrive,” said NowheretogobutUP Foundation founding chairman Renan Dalisay.

The UP PGH has taken the lead in the frontlines as a COVID-19 referral center, with the UP College of Medicine innovating on patient care. The UP NIH developed the country’s first COVID-19 test kit. A collaborative project between UP Manila and UP Diliman has produced the RxBox vital signs monitoring device.

The UP Fighting Maroons encourage people to donate or have questions or medical concerns addressed by calling the UP PGH Bayanihan Operation Center hotline 155-200.

WATCH Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, and the UP Fighting Maroons cheer up UP healthcare frontliners in their Zoomustahan here, SEND HELP to the UP Bayanihan Na! Operations Center Hotline 155-200, and SEND US YOUR #GoodLight #MessageofHope to the world in the comments below.

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.