With people around the world cheering, applauding and saying thank you to their frontliners from balconies and plazas, the University of the Philippines Men’s Basketball Team expressed gratitude and appreciation for local frontliners in their own unique way.
UP Fighting Maroons Noah Webb, Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero, James Spencer, David Murrell, Joe Gomez de Liaño, Jboy Gob, CJ Catapusan, Brix Ramos, Matt Santiago, Ethan Kirkness, Sam Dowd, Malik Diouf and head coach Bo Perasol hopped on a Zoom call with medical and healthcare workers from UP’s Philippine General Hospital and the UP National Institutes of Health on Friday, May 8 for a virtual chat called Zoomustahan.
UP coaches Ricky Dandan, Rodney Santos, Moriah Gingrich, Chappy Callanta, Mark Dandan, and Kenneth Raval joined the call as well.
The cheer-up call was received by PGH Director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi, Dr. Edgar Eufemio, Dr. Anthony Geronimo Cordero, Dr. Louricha Opina-Tan, former Fighting Maroon Dr. Czarlo Dela Victoria, and interns and nurses on the PGH side. NIH health workers and laboratory personnel led by UP Manila Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology science research specialist Stessi Geganzo also chatted with the team.
Kobe Paras got the ball rolling by telling the group how much their sacrifices and bravery were appreciated. “While we are here sitting in our homes, comfortable, you are out there risking your lives for us so I want to say thank you,” said Paras.
Ricci Rivero said they were “really grateful for everything you are doing for our country and our fellow Filipinos. Sobrang saludo po kami sa inyo. We are doing this Zoomustahan with you para naman po makapagshare kami ng konting good vibes sa inyo kahit for a few minutes lang. We’re facing this really big challenge and nandito lang po kami to listen to you, extend our support and continue to pray for you. Hoping for your safety and for sure kakayanin natin ‘to, babangon tayong lahat,” Rivero said.
Coach Bo Perasol thanked UP PGH doctors for their support through the years. “This virtual visit is the least the team could do to give back to you. UP-PGH has been part of our team from the start. Whatever small part we could play now – by saying thank you, by praying for you, or whatever help we could extend to you with our presence – just let us know so we could be part of it,” Perasol said.
The frontliners thanked the Fighting Maroons for taking time and effort to do the Zoomustahan.
“This is really a treat for us – to see faces that are not sick,” quipped Dr. Legaspi. “We are getting all the support that you’re giving us and you keep us inspired to move on. It’s really amazing how the whole UP community stood up to the challenge and are helping us get through this. We’re looking forward to your first game.”
UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita David-Padilla, also extended her greetings and appreciation for the Fighting Maroons’ gesture. “Maraming-maraming salamat, UP Men’s Basketball Team. Malaking-malaking bagay ‘to and salamat sa support sa mga nasa frontlines.”
UP NIH staff and scientists waiting for their shift in the testing center also thanked the Maroons for the video conferencing. “Kami po yong mga off-duty ngayon and we’re waiting for our shift. Thank you so much for this connection. Salamat po sa good vibes.”
The Fighting Maroons hope to reach more frontliners in the days to come to show their support through the UPMBT Zoomustahan. The team looks forward to meeting more medical and healthcare workers, grocery attendants, and other groups that man the frontlines and continue to serve the country during this pandemic.