|Coach Ruben goes to Zambales to teach basketball to the young beneficiaries of the Bangkarunungan program.|
They say that one man can make a difference. But what more if two passionate and big-hearted individuals join forces to help the less fortunate? The results can even be greater and create a bigger impact in the lives of the people they touch.
That’s what happened when two Mang Inasal Gawad Pilipinoy awardees fused their advocacies to reach more people. Gawad Pilipinoy Awards is the leading Pinoy branded quick service restaurant’s recognition program for the country’s modern-day heroes; individuals who use their skills and passion to be of service to others.
Hoop Dreams founder Ruben Lanot II (right) partners with Bangkarunungan’s Teacher Adrian Cobardo to bring basketball lessons to kids of Zambales.
When this year’s awardee, Coach Ruben Lanot II, heard the story of the Gawad Pilipinoy’s first honoree, Teacher Adrian Karl L. Cobardo and his advocacy, he immediately reached out to him.
Cobardo, a teacher by profession, is the founder of BangKarunugan, an advocacy which aims to cultivate the love of reading among children. He provides free and accessible education to the people in Zambales, which he and his young volunteers travel to via a bangka (boat).
|Coach Ruben and his team successfully carried out an outreach activity in Sitio Nagbayugan in Zambales, in partnership with Bangkarunungan’s Teacher Adrian. Both are Mang Inasal’s Gawad Pilipinoy modern-day heroes.|
Meanwhile, Coach Ruben is a tireless and dedicated basketball coach, who fulfills his passion for the game by inspiring kids to love the sport and make it an instrument to improve their lives. He founded “Hoop Dreams,” providing aspiring basketball players the skills, drills, right values, sports equipment and apparel they need for the game.
“I was impressed by Teacher Adrian’s program of teaching kids in far-flung areas in Zambales through BangKarunungan, so I asked the Gawad Pilipinoy Awards’ staff how I could reach him. After that, Teacher Adrian and I started talking about how we could collaborate,” explained Coach Ruben.
The result was a joint outreach activity with the beneficiaries of Bangkarunungan from the adjacent sitios of Nagbayugan, Sampaloc and Kinabukasan in Zambales.
In the first week of October, Coach Ruben and his contingent left Manila in the wee hours of Sunday morning for Subic. Upon reaching their destination, Coach Ruben’s team met up with Teacher Adrian and his volunteers. The combined group proceeded to take a trip to Sitio Nagbayugan, a place situated at a stretch of beach only reachable via one-hour boat ride.
When they arrived, several Nagbayugan residents ran towards the shore to meet them. About 60 kids, with ages ranging from four to 16 years old were introduced to Coach Ruben, who instantly established a rapport with the kids.
The entire morning was spent with a story reading session with Teacher Adrian, followed by Coach Ruben’s basketball clinic, peppered with talks about the importance of observing discipline, camaraderie and sportsmanship in the game.
“This is the first time that the kids experienced something like this – an entire coaching session in basketball. It is definitely a new skill that they can use. And I am grateful to Coach Ruben for initiating this partnership with Bangkarunungan,” said Teacher Adrian.
Coach Ruben’s team gave hygiene kits to the kids, and also brought shoes and jerseys donated by students from schools where he works as basketball coach. There were also bags of rice and noodles distributed by Coach Ruben’s group to the parents, who watched the activity.
“This is definitely a start of something good as we plan to establish another advocacy – the Sole Dreams – where my team and I will ask for donations for sport apparel and shoes while Teacher Adrian will identify the schools where we can bring the donations. We will definitely come back here,” shared Coach Ruben.
The day ended with big smiles from the boys and girls, as well as their parents, as they went home with new skills, knowledge, and donated goods.
“Masaya po kami na naranasan po naming maturuan ng tamang paglalaro ng basketball. Binigyan din po kami ng bagong sapatos at damit na taos puso po naming pinagpapasalamat (We are happy to have experienced being taught how to play basketball the right way. We also received shoes and clothes, for which we are truly grateful,” said Narciso Pisakilyo Jr., one of the youth at the outreach activity.
Teacher Adrian concluded the activity with a wish: “Sana po kami ni Coach Ruben ay patuloy na maging bangka para mas marami pang mga bata ang mapaligaya (We hope that Coach Ruben and I will continue to be a ‘boat’ so that we can make more children happy),” he said.