Celebrating Active And Healthy Lifestyle Through the 21st Alaska Football Cup


21st-alaska-football-cupFootball, like any other sport, teaches values such as sportsmanship, hard work, determination and discipline, that children can live up to when they come of age. Complemented with proper nutrition, children develop their social skills, self confidence and their personality, which allow them to better mingle with, excel in school and in sports, and achieve the “winning form”.

Annually, Alaska Milk holds the most anticipated football tournament in the country through the Alaska Football Cup. This year, the 21st Alaska Football Cup held on November 26-27, at the Alabang Country Club engaged 4,800 athletes from all corners of the country, comprising 320 football teams and officiated by at least 168 game officials in 28 football fields – all in one venue!

“This marks another monumental event for Alaska Milk. We have 320 teams and a total of 4,800 football players together in one venue, all united by their love for football. It is with great pride that we witness how the Alaska Nutrition. Action. Champion. program has engaged young athletes into this kind of culture, and hey live by the values inherent in sports,” shared Mr. Wilfred Uytengsu, President and CEO, Alaska Milk Corporation.21st-alaska-football-cup-girls

Truly, the players’ passion for football is deeply rooted within themselves, that even the inclement weather didn’t budge any of them. Children played like pros. The adults showcased their best skills. And the youngest ones chased and kicked the ball just like those in the football field next to theirs. It was certainly more than just a day in the pre-school. They may not have understood the competition aspect of the game, but I can tell some of them already exhibited the makings of a football champion.

Each game played was intense as skills and strategies blended well together. Loud cheers emanated from parents and supporters with each goal, when it’s a good pass, and even when it’s a miss, giving two-day tournament a festive atmosphere. From the elimination games to the finals, everyone showed they have what it takes to be champions. The energy was overflowing. It was relentless.

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Sportsmanship is one of the values sports, such as football, teaches.

Sportsmanship is one of the values sports, such as football, teaches.

But just like other tournaments, teams lose and teams win. And no matter how much the players put in in every game, there can only be one winner. Whilst losing is not really easy to deal with, sports has taught the children at such a very young age the value of sportsmanship, such that at the end of each game, winning or losing, players gave each other the high fives.

More than winning or losing the game, football is a perfect vehicle to raise awareness that proper nutrition and active lifestyle is healthy for the growing up kids. And Alaska Milk’s Nutrition. Action. Champion. campaign has successfully championed this through its various sports program.

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2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA Philippine All Stars Join the NBA Experience in Shanghai


The 2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA Philippine All Stars with Coaches of the Year.

The 2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA Philippine All Stars with Coaches of the Year.

The rigorous training and selection process during the Regional Selection Camps and National Training Camp were really worth the pain and effort as the 2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA Philippine All Stars and Coaches of the Year fly to Shanghai, China, for an all-expense paid trip for the NBA Experience.

Five girls and ten boys who made the cut went through a tough three day selection phase during the Jr. NBA-WNBA National Training Camp presented by Alaska held at the SM MOA Music Hall last April 24, 2016.

The NBA Experience is a reward to those who have persevered, those who are determined, and those who embody the STAR values (Sportsmanship, Teamwork, A positive Attitude and Respect) of Jr. NBA-WNBA program, which are aligned with the “Nutrion. Action. Champion.” campaign of Alaska Milk Coporation.

The Jr. WNBA Philippine All Stars include Darliene Ragasajo and Florence Jil Talas from Cebu, Rozie Amatong from Davao City, Aloha Marie Betanio from Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, and Ma. Cecilia Quilenderino from Antipolo City.

The Jr. NBA Philippine All Stars include Tracy Carl Dadang from Cebu, Fritz Felix Valencia from Bacolod City, Harold Alarcon from Silay City in Negros Occidental, Riz Ozner Gatus from Pangasinan, Andrei Philip Lechoncito, Jearico Nuñez, Miguel Rey Luis Tan, Kai Zachary Sotto, Julian Jugo and Isaiah Miguel Blanco from Manila. Julian Jugo and Isaiah Blanco are both returning campers as they joined last year but didn’t make the cut. They also trained at the Alaska Basketball Powercamp.

Joining the Jr. NBA-WNBA Philippine All Stars are Coaches of the Year Arayi Ewon and Elegino Chollo.

2016 Jr. WNBA Philippine All Stars

2016 Jr. WNBA Philippine All Stars

When asked how they feel about the trip, everyone had just one word in mind – excited! It will be a truly enriching and fun experience for all of them, as most of them goes out of the country for the first time. They will meet with 85 other Jr. NBA-WNBA All Stars from Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. Singapore joins the Jr. NBA-WNBA program for the first time this year.

They will train with NBA coaches and superstars, watch the NBA Global Games China 2016 featuring the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. As part of their three-day activities, they Jr. NBA-WNBA Southeast Asia All Stars are also in for the city tour where they can buy some souvenirs.

Isaiah Blanco, or Ice, who is the son of Alaska Ace’s Dondon Hontiveros, shared that he is “very excited about the trip” since it’s his “first time to travel because of basketball.”

“Si Papa (Dondon Hontiveros), mas excited pa siya sa akin,” revealed Ice during our conversation. “I expect serious and hard training,” he added.

Weeks leading to the trip, Ice and his dad Dondon spend time to train at the court to further improve his basketball handling skills. In between basketball trainings, they go to the gym for conditioning and strengthening workouts.

“It’s a once in a lifetime moment. I hope to enjoy the trip. And sana maging memorable ang trip na ‘to,” shared Ice.

2016 Jr. NBA Philippine All Stars

2016 Jr. NBA Philippine All Stars

“I’d like to congratulate our JrNBA Philippine All-Stars on their success. Through Alaska Milk’s Nutrition. Action. Champion. Program and our partnership with the NBA, we have been able to help fuel the basketball dreams and life aspirations of thousands of children across the country,” said Alaska Milk Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.

“This collaboration is an important element of our long-standing Nutrition. Action. Champion. Campaign. By leveraging on this initiative, Alaska Milk was able to proactively educate families and children on the important role of drinking milk and getting into sports to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle,” further added by Mr. Uytengsu.

The JrNBA Program is presented by Royal Friesland Campina in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam through its Alaska Milk, Frisian Flag, Dutch Lady and Foremost brands and conducted in Singapore through partnership with Sport Singapore.

This program has touched the lives of more than 1.5 million children, parents and coaches across Southeast Asia by conducting camps, clinics, and NBA Cares community outreach activities.

For more information visit Alaska Milk’s sports channel http://www.playph.com and like @PlayPH in Facebook and Instagram for inspiring stories on Filipino sports fans of all ages and skill levels.

Fans can also visit the official website at http://www.jrnba.asia for more information on the JrNBA programs.

Jr. NBA-WNBA All Stars Fly to Shanghai For The Life-Changing NBA Experience


2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA All Stars with Alaska Milk Corp. Marketing Director Ms. Blen Fernando, Alaska Powercamp Director Jeff Cariaso, NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson, Tina Thompson and Nerlens Noel, and E-Cow.

2016 Jr. NBA-WNBA All Stars with Alaska Milk Corp. Marketing Director Ms. Blen Fernando, Alaska Powercamp Director Jeff Cariaso, NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson, Tina Thompson and Nerlens Noel, and E-Cow.

Hardwork really pays off. From the Regional Selection Camps to the National Training Camp, and up to the final scrimmage, ninety Jr. NBA-WNBA All Stars from Southeast Asia – boys and girls 10 to 14 years old, will finally reap their reward as they travel to Shanghai, China, for the NBA Experience.

These young champions have endured the rigid selection process earlier this year, and have shown that they have the necessary skills and embody the STAR values to make the cut. Aside from meeting other All Stars, they are scheduled to watch the NBA Global Games China 2016 presented by Master Kong in Shanghai on Oct. 9, featuring the Houston Rockets and the New Orleans Pelicans playing a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

The participants from the Philippines will be joined by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and for the first time by Jr. NBA Singapore standouts following the program’s introduction to Singapore earlier this year.  As part of their visit to Shanghai, the boys and girls will also meet with NBA players and legends, receive additional basketball training and tour the city.

“Our Jr. NBA All-Stars will once again embark on an unforgettable journey where they will get to experience a foreign country, take part in advanced basketball training and watch a live NBA game, all while engaging with their counterparts from Southeast Asia,” said NBA Asia Vice President, Global Partnerships & Events Francesco Suarez. 

2015 Jr. NBA All Stars Southeast Asia were acknowledged during half-time during the NBA Global Games in Shenzhen.

2015 Jr. NBA All Stars Southeast Asia were acknowledged during half-time during the 2015 NBA Global Games in Shenzhen.

“This gathering creates lifelong memories and friendships for our participants, and we will continue providing even more youth with opportunities like this in the years to come,” Mr. Suarez added.

“I’d like to congratulate our Jr. NBA Philippine All-Stars on their success. Through Alaska Milk’s Nutrition.Action.Champion. Program and our partnership with the NBA, we have been able to help fuel the basketball dreams and life aspirations of thousands of children across the country,” said Alaska Milk Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.

“This collaboration is an important element of our long-standing Nutrition.Action.Champion. campaign. By leveraging on this initiative, Alaska Milk was able to proactively educate families and children on the important role of drinking milk and getting into sports to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle,” further added Mr. Uytengsu.

The Jr. NBA is presented by Royal FrieslandCampina in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam through its Frisian Flag, Dutch Lady, Alaska Milk, and Foremost brands and is conducted in partnership with Sport Singapore in Singapore. Promoting the importance of regular physical activity, participants are trained in the fundamentals of basketball and learn the importance of the Jr. NBA’s core values, including sportsmanship, teamwork, a positive attitude, and respect.  To date, the program has reached more than 1.5 million children, parents and coaches across Southeast Asia through camps, clinics, and NBA Cares community outreach activities, and aims to reach five million children by 2020. 

Fans can visit the official website at www.jrnba.asia for more information on the Jr. NBA programs. “Friend” the NBA’s official account on LINE by adding @nba_global.  Follow the NBA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nba and Twitter at @NBA for all the latest news and updates.  For all things NBA, visit www.nba.com.

Check out Alaska Milk’s sports channel http://www.playph.com and like @PlayPH in Facebook and Instagram for inspiring stories on Filipino sports fans of all ages and skill levels.

On Spotlight: Lucian Antonio Alejo – The Champion Unleashed


Tonito Alejo at the ASTC Singapore Internal Marathon. Photo Credit: Lucian Antonio Alejo

Tonito Alejo at the ASTC Singapore Internal Marathon. Photo Credit: Lucian Antonio Alejo

It was a fine morning of June 6, 2016. I was on my way to Capitol Commons to meet the Alejos, who just arrived in Manila from their week-long vacation in Singapore. It was the first time that I would meet the whole family. Right outside the Pancake House in Capitol Commons, Ton approached me and led me to their table. There I met his sister Alex, his mom Tita Charis and a bit later, his dad Tito Boyet.

I met Lucian Antonio Alejo, or Tonito or Ton, back in 2014 when I did the on ground coverage of Alaska Ironkids in Cebu.

Unlike most junior triathletes, Tonito joined triathlon at a later age in his hometown in Iligan City. Having no background in swimming, he fast-tracked his swimming lessons so he can make it to his first triathlon race a few months away.

After finishing his first race, Tonito developed his love for the multisport and at the same time he wanted to attend the regular school. However, he had to make a tough and wise decision and a few considerations have to be made. Because when he chooses to attend regular school, he won’t have much time to train for triathlon. And for someone who had the passion for the sport, Ton chose the home study program so he can have more time to train and even join triathlon races without compromising his education.

Ton was 13 when he had his first taste of the Alaska Ironkids race which was held on April 13, 2014, in La Stanza, Marikina, where he ranked ninth among the boys in the 13 to 14 age bracket, completing the course in 45 minutes 13.67 seconds (Swim 400m, Bike 12km, Run 3km). He then joined the Alaska Ironkids in Cebu on August 2, 2014, where he ranked sixth in the Boys 13 to 14 age group, with a finish time of 35 minutes and 20.7 seconds (Swim 300m, Bike 9km, Run 2km).

Tonito Alejo during the run leg of Alaska Ironkids Subic, March 2015.

Tonito Alejo during the run leg of Alaska Ironkids Subic, March 2015.

Back home, Ton trained doubly hard and joined other triathlon races. During the Alaska Ironkids held in Subic on March 7, 2015, he missed to bag the third spot by just a second, placing fourth with a finish time of 32 minutes even (Swim 300m, Bike 9km, Run 2km). I can still vividly see him sprint to the finish line.

At 14, Ton had only one shot left to make a mark in the Alaska Ironkids triathlon race. The Alaska Ironkids Cebu held on August 1, 2015, was his last race in the local franchise of Ironkids. Confident with his training, and with his sister Alex and parents in mind, Ton was ready give all the best that he had. His determination to bring home his first Alaska Ironkids trophy and mascot didn’t falter. Not a single bit, as he had always wanted to give Alex that stuffed toy.

When I got off the service car (provided by Ford) straight from Mactan International Airport, I bumped into none other Lucian Antonio Alejo, who had the good news for me!

Among the 36 boys in the 13 to 14 year old category, Ton made a bang with his second place finish in 45 minutes 51.4 seconds, which put John Caleb Barlin in the third spot. His race stats: Swim (400m) – 00:08:13, Bike (12km) – 00:22:34, Run (3km) – 00:15:06. Very impressive! Now, this one’s off his bucket list.

I remember telling him, “What a great way to cap off your final year in the Alaska Ironkids program!” Indeed! Personally, I am so happy to see him achieve his goal because I knew that he worked hard for it. And I can only see a modest grin in his face whilst he said “Thank you po.” Such a fine kid.

Looking at his past Alaska Ironkids races, he improved tremendously from his 9th place in April 2013 to an awesome Second Place finish in August 2015. Yet, Ton has always remained grounded. Still calls me Kuya even when he’s way taller than I am!

Meeting the Alejo Family: Tita Charis, Tonito, Tito Boyet and baby Alex.

Meeting the Alejo Family: Tita Charis, Tonito, Tito Boyet and baby Alex.

Tonito Trivia
  • He can mimic an accent. He can talk in an Indian accent. Though his favourite is Craig Alexander’s Aussie twang.
  • He looks up to Crowie Alexander.
  • One day, he wants to join a Kona Ironman World championship race.
  • He can sing.
  • He can dance.
  • Awarded Athlete of the Year by City Sports Office, Iligan City Government
  • He saved up his cash awards to buy his gears.
  • He is under a home study program through SEIBO College
On Life After Alaska Ironkids
Tonito Alejo at the Dipolog Triathon 103. Photo credit: Dipolog Triathlon 103

Tonito Alejo at the Dipolog Triathon 103. Photo credit: Dipolog Triathlon 103

After his stint at the Alaska Ironkids, Tonito continued his triathlon journey joining sprint distance races like SUBIT, NAGT CDO Leg 3 (First Place) and in the most recent ASTC Singapore International Triatlon, which was also his first international race.

Currently, Ton is part of ActiveHealth Junior Elite Team (Unilab) under Coach Ani de Leon-Brown and Coach Dan Brown. Speaking to Coach Ani, she only has encouraging words for Ton. Whilst his good form is a big plus, he needs to fine tune his focus on training and in his races. With his abilities and talent, there’s a big world of opportunities waiting for him.

Ton, always put your best foot forward in everything that you do. I’m glad to know you’ve found your passion and it’s where you heart belongs to, and you have amazing parents and sister to always motivate you. Continue to be an inspiration to everyone as you’ve found your strength in your weakness! Cheers!

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