“Puso” has been the battle cry of the Philippine National Men’s Basketball team, collectively known as Gilas Pilipinas, ever since the program entered it’s second stage. This short but effective word has captured the imagination of, not just the Filipinos, but basketball enthusiasts all over the world.
The word completely encapsulates the grit and determination of an undersized team that is willing to risk life and limb in a sport “dominated by giants.” Moreover, it solidified a nation filled with the most passionate fans hungry to enter the world stage of sports.
However, “puso” also means compassion and charity.
Wednesday morning, in a small banquet held in Libis, Quezon City, the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas, together with Smart Sports, formally announced Melmac Sports, a local-based sporting enterprise, as the official licensee of Gilas apparel and merchandise.
“A few months ago, we signed a contract with SBP making my small company (Melmac Sports) as the official licensee of Gilas apparel,” Melmac Sports president Mel Macasaquit shared. “It so happened that there was never really an official merchandise carrier for the SBP. With the idea, we approached Smart Sports and the SBP and, everything as they say, is history.”
Unlike other bidders, Macasaquit’s bid was different. “The main intention is to bring up a business that will support the grassroots program of the SBP,” he said. “As we all know, the critical stages of starting basketball is between the ages of 6 to 13 years old. In our small way, we like to provide and help in the development of the country’s grassroots program and, in a way, the national pool.”
It was this mission that got Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin and the SBP on board. “Me and Mel sat for breakfast the other day and we had a great talk about this campaign and this program. What struck me was something that he touched on,” Baldwin shared.
“It is not in the nature of people to blow their own horn. Mel won’t do that as well. When he talked about this vision and his company’s passion for sports, it was very genuine. And the proof is that the profits will go straight to the grassroots. That was enough to sell me.”
In addition, the concept of this product line is not about branding according to the National Team mentor. “This is not just about branding, this is very much about what the campaign of Gilas means to this country,” he added. “Each one who will buy these merchandise will give back to the future of the game. It is important to see kids, where ever they are playing, to have the support that they need.”
The official Gilas shirts are sold at a very affordable price point (Php 399) to ensure that all Filipinos will have the opportunity to don the Gilas colors. “There will be copycats. But why buy one when the original is really affordable and you can help with the development of local basketball?,” Smart Sports head Epok Quimpo said.
“We sold them at a very affordable price point with the intention of seeing all Filipinos wear the Gilas colors come the Olympic Qualifiers,” Macasaquit added.
The official Gilas merchandise is now available at all Robinsons Department Stores nationwide. Flagship kiosk outlets for Gilas Pilipinas are also set to be launched on April 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, SM Megamall, and SM City North Edsa.
The apparel will also be available online powered by Takatack.com. Online transactions can be made with PayMaya (formerly known as Smart eMoney).