By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

PARTNERSHIP. Officials of Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) pose for a photo opportunity in this undated photo. Toyota is the major local sponsor of SBP’s hosting of the FIBA World Cup slated from Aug. 24 to Sept. 10, 2023. (Photo courtesy of SBP)

MANILA – Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) has assured its full support to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) hosting of the FIBA World Cup by becoming a major local sponsor.

Toyota and SBP recently made the partnership formal even as the automotive company expressed its intent to help improve the Philippine basketball scene in the long run.

“It is with great appreciation and warmth that we welcome Toyota Motor Philippines to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 family,” said SBP Chairman Emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.

“By being part of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 journey, one of the biggest global sports event this year, we aim to further inspire and encourage more Filipinos to use the power of movement to reach their full potential. This is the spirit of our ‘Start Your Impossible’ global sports campaign. With this partnership with FIBA through SBP, and the unity basketball brings to Filipinos, we are always moving closer to our goal of producing happiness for all,” said TMP president Atsuhiro Okamoto.

Toyota will not just support Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign in the FIBA World Cup from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10 but will also assist in conducting basketball camps for aspiring players and coaches.

SBP president Al Panlilio hopes that more members of the private sector will come out to support the FIBA World Cup Philippine hosting.

“Even as we thank Toyota Motor Philippines for agreeing to be part of this once in a lifetime experience, we are inviting as well others who wish to also share in this global activity, this journey which in a sense is truly a merger of world caliber sports and big business,” Panlilio said.

Toyota’s role in growing Philippine basketball traces back to the days of the old Delta Motors Philippines when it founded a team that would become a dominant force in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association and the early days of the Philippine Basketball Association.

Toyota, now under the TMP management, made a brief return to Philippine basketball in the mid 2000s when it bankrolled Letran’s campaign in the defunct Philippine Basketball League. (PNA)