In a groundbreaking move, the TNT Tropang Giga will be launching a training program to mold potential candidates who can eventually be part of the team's coaching staff. The move is part of returning head coach Chot Reyes' knack for mentoring individuals.
"Throughout my career, I have always tried to live according to my passion and purpose. This is an oft-repeated topic even in my talks. My passion has always been coaching and building teams - whether in sports or business. And my purpose is to further the advancement of Filipino coaches, so we can, in turn help develop the next generation of Filipino leaders," said Reyes.
Maureen Kris Belen will be the first recipient of the breakthrough program. Belen will be hoping to expand her coaching experience which she earned in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.
She first managed sports events in Dubai before getting her first coaching stint for a collegiate team in 2017. Belen also called the shots for the PNP women's basketball team in 2019, and was one of the organizers of the basketball tournament in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Belen recognizes that there are challenges to being a woman in a male-dominant field, but uses the setback to become the best version of herself.
"The best thing about being a woman in this industry is that we tend to work harder than anyone in the room, because the pressure is doubled, the purpose is bigger. You don't just do it for yourself, but for all the women out there, that's what makes it so rewarding," recalled Belen.
It will also be a fulfillment of Belen's wishes to be mentored by one of her basketball idols in Reyes.
"This move will not just open windows, but big doors for all aspiring women. For a small player like me, it is true that you only need someone to believe in you to give you the breakthrough you have been praying for, and I have TNT to thank for that," Belen said.
The program is designed to train candidates to be part of the Tropang Giga's coaching staff. Team management hopes to eventually open more slots for people who dream of one day coaching their own teams.
"We hope that through this program, we'll be able to develop not only individuals, but a whole new generation of professionals who can contribute to the well-loved industry of sports, particularly basketball," said team governor Ricky Vargas.
"Sports is close to my heart. We can use a lot of the attributes that we learn in sports--teamwork, striving for excellence, achieving shared goals--in the corporate world. How these values manifest in business and in sports may look very different, but the core philosophies and strategies are the same. We owe it to basketball followers all over the country to acknowledge how vital the role of a leader on a sports team is to its overall success, and develop homegrown talent that demonstrates the right qualities," mentioned Smart Communications president and CEO and PLDT chief revenue officer Al S. Panlilio.