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PLDT, Smart support Batang Gilas as team shapes future of PH basketball

Returning from the FIBA U-17 World Cup last month, Philippines’ under 18 men’s national basketball team Batang Gilas is set to play again on the international stage at the FIBA U-18 Asian Championship in Nonthaburi, Thailand on August 5 to 11.

During their sendoff practice, PLDT and Smart showed solid support by providing Smart Travel Wi-Fi units and premium load cards for PLDT’s international calling service Free Bee, which proved useful to the team when competing abroad.

“These services had really helped us during the World Cup in Argentina,” said Wilbert Lao, Batang Gilas assistant coach. “The kids were able to communicate with their families and friends which, in return, gave them the encouragement they needed.”

Aside from enabling communication, Smart’s assistance also allowed the team to research and plan their plays. During the FIBA U-17 World Cup in July, Batang Gilas was grouped with the ‘toughest teams’—European countries France, Croatia, and host Argentina. “We got to study the competing teams’ strengths and weaknesses as part of the preparation,” Lao added.

With the addition of 6’10” Fil-Nigerian Ariel John ‘AJ’ Edu and 6’1” Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio, Batang Gilas is indeed transitioning into a powerhouse against Asia’s bests.

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