The year 2021 will go down in Philippine sports history as the year of Filipino champions.
In the recent Tokyo Olympics, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz brought home the first-ever gold medal for the country. Team Pilipinas also hauled in two silver and a bronze medal – its most successful contingent in over a century.
Diaz and boxers Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial showed what true Filipino champions are made of, lifting the spirit of the entire nation during a pandemic and igniting hope for what our young athletes can achieve in the future.
But sports is not only about competing and getting a podium finish.
Former athletes Dr. Micco Sollano and Atty. Madeline Mina proved that champions are not only measured by mere skill, but also by heart and character. Their humble beginnings with Nestlé and Milo Sports programs have been the foundation of their ongoing success.
Today, they try to live by these values while pursuing their other passions in life
On and off the court
“I was in Grade School when my mom enrolled me in the Milo Best Center program,” Dr. Sollano shared.
Founded by Coach Nic Jorge, the Milo Best Center recognizes sports as an integral part of a child’s growth.
The aspiring doctor continued to play basketball, competing in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or UAAP as part of the champion teams of both Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University during his college years.
“Sports is a great teacher. I learned about discipline and teamwork. I also gained the confidence to face challenges, on and off the court,” he emphasized, adding that the whole experience taught him to never give up. A trait, he admits, helped him while pursuing his medical degree later on.
In 2020, however, Sollano had to dig deeper and flight as he had never done before. “I was the first medical frontliner to test positive for COVID-19. I knew in my heart that I needed to fight because that is how Milo nurtured me,” he said.
He made sure he won this most challenging personal battle yet. Because for Sollano, other people were counting on frontliners like him and depending on their team to win the fight against COVID.
One’s champion journey is never easy.
When Atty. Mina’s father enrolled her at 10 years old in MILO Club Gymnastica in Pasig, where Lucero and Yulo also trained, she had to prove to herself that she could do what kids two to four years her junior were already capable of.
“Hindi siya basta-basta. You have to go through the process of training for a particular skill. Because in progressive training, especially for gymnastics, everything will get harder and more complex,” Mina explained.
She committed herself to training both at home and in the gym to improve her somersaults and stick the landing of her vault routine. And when local and international competitions came, all the hard work to be at the highest competitive level was rewarded with medals and loud cheers of “Go, Madel!” from her family and teammates.
But after winning in four competitions, Mina felt like she wanted to give up.
Her dream of becoming a champion gymnast in the Olympics remained just that – a dream. “It was that time when I felt overfatigue and no longer improving. I had to overcome such frustration, that even though I was no longer competing as a gymnast, I could still do what I love as a member of our cheerleading teams in high school and college.”
She went on to join and win titles with her new teammates at the Pasig Catholic College Pep Squad and San Beda Cheerleading Association.
Struggles, she stressed, are part of the whole journey. “Sometimes being a champion means taking failure in stride, allowing yourself to mourn and picking yourself up again to do better and bounce back higher,” she said.
From being a gymnast to becoming a lawyer, Mina is now focusing her energy on taking part in the speedy administration of justice under the Supreme Court. It is about championing others this time around, she said.
Nestlé has been championing the health and wellness of Filipino families for 110 years.
As Nestlé adapts to the times, Arlene Tan-Bantoto, Senior Vice President and Head of Public Affairs, Sustainability and Communications, said the company has pivoted its Milo Sports program into the Milo Home Court online to continue helping kids stay active and healthy even while at home.
“A champion’s journey starts with fostering a champion’s mindset. As the Kasambuhay of Filipino families, Nestlé is excited to build the next generation of true champions while cheering them on at every stage of their journey. It may have been five decades since Nestlé launched its first MILO Sports program but the determination, discipline, and self-confidence that it has instilled in millions of Filipino youth through sports will, hopefully, prepare them to become champions in life,” Tan-Bantoto said.
Nestlé continues to build Filipino life champions through sports. Since 1964, Nestlé nourishes the youth with nutritious energy to jump-start their own journey to success through the MILO Sports Programs.
It is not surprising that Nestlé has been able to inspire more than 35 million Filipinos to grow with sports and pursue their love for basketball, volleyball, taekwondo, football, swimming, gymnastics, arnis, among others.
Look no further with Bea Lucero, Caloy Yulo, Kiefer Ravena, Jamie Lim, and Pauline Lopez as some of Milo’s best and most notable athletes. And more champions to come, on and off the playing field.
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