The University of the Philippines men’s basketball team (UPMBT) Fighting Maroons will still have Januarius Holdings, Inc. (JHI) and its subsidiary STATS Performance Apparel among its top supporters for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) seasons 83 and 84. JHI chairman and chief executive officer JJ Atencio bankrolled the team’s training camps in Las Vegas, United States in 2017, in Serbia in 2018 and in Tokyo, Japan in 2019.
In 2020, the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ruled out overseas trips for the Fighting Maroons but Atencio and company are still including advanced training as part of their plan. He said, “Our journey with the UPMBT started three years ago, when, acting on a strong gut feeling, we decided to be major sponsors despite the team’s just coming out of a lackluster season, the absence of significant community support and my not even being a UP alumnus.”
“We wanted to be part of the dream and help create something that eventually we could all be proud of,” Atencio continued. ” Fast forward to today. It’s a completely different situation, isn’t it?”
Atencio is a graduate of UP’s Katipunan rival Ateneo de Manila University and is currently taking up his master’s degree in UP. He believes he has a mission with the Fighting Maroons.
“While the team has accomplished a lot these past years, the work isn’t finished yet,” Atencio said. “That dream continues to unfold. Success is a process after all and we continue to be motivated and encouraged to keep on supporting and being part of this journey in good times and bad. We think that the next two years will be really good for the team.”
For Atencio, foreign training is a game changer that can quickly produce the desired results. He said, “We’ve seen it.”
“After three straight years of training abroad, we placed fifth the first year, second in the second year and third after last year’s training,” the JHI chairman and CEO continued. “We’re still committed to sending the team for training abroad in Seasons 83 and 84 as soon as it’s possible.”
Besides the team outfits and the commitment to send the team abroad for training, Atencio announced that JHI is providing the Fighting Maroons with data analytics technology. He has signed a memorandum of agreement signing were UPMBT head coach Bo Perasol, team manager Atty. Agaton Uvero, nowheretogobutUP Foundation founder Renan Dalisay, JHI chief operating officer Marcy Venezuela and STATS chief executive officer Edrin Panganiban.
“What’s also exciting for us starting this year is analytics,” Atencio said. “That’s one of the things we are working on with the team and that’s what we’re looking forward to, how it would help them.”
Perasol said the Fighting Maroons is “beyond grateful” for having Atencio and JHI in the team for the past three years and a couple more. The coach said, “Despite the COVID-19 situation, he still chose to stay on.”
“He is as determined as we are to see everything through,” Perasol said of Atencio. “More than the financial aspect of things, the moral support they have given us from the start is priceless. JJ is like a father or a brother to the players and us coaches. His kindness and faith in the team truly inspires us.”
Uvero stressed how the team struggled in the past and how supporters like Atencio and STATS help to keep them on track for years to come. The lawyer said, “Sir JJ Atencio was one of the first to give hope to our program.”
“A believer in the value of education, he graciously sponsored the team’s first overseas training when all we had to show was a promise to do our best,” Uvero said of Atencio. “Four years after, we now have a sustainable program and a team that is going to be competitive for many years to come. We will always be grateful for his support.”