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NBA and Smart collaborate to support distance learning in the Philippines

by SMART Public Affairs | Oct 15, 2021
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MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Oct. 15, 2021 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced a collaboration with Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), a leading digital services provider and official partner of the NBA in the Philippines, in support of School-in-a-Bag, Smart’s flagship education program that provides digital tools and content to support distance learning in public schools and communities across the Philippines.  

Through NBA Cares, the league’s global social responsibility program, the NBA and Smart will assemble and distribute School-in-a-Bag packages to 20 schools across 16 cities and provinces in Luzon (Batanes, Benguet, Bulacan, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Romblon), Visayas (Biliran and Siquijor) and Mindanao (Agusan del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Surigao del Norte and Zamboanga del Norte).  Each package will include a Smart LTE Pocket WiFi, laptop and tablets, both of which will have preinstalled educational content including Smart’s proprietary #LearnSmart apps, featuring alphabet and number exercises, short stories, and games in native languages and dialects.  The bags will also feature NBA-branded baller bands and notebooks.   

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The announcement was made by NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy and PLDT and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio during a virtual ceremony earlier today. 

“Education in the Philippines has changed dramatically as schools across the country continue engaging with students remotely,” said NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy.  “Through NBA Cares, we’re proud to support our valued partner Smart and their School-in-a-Bag program, which delivers an innovative and sustainable approach to enhancing the distance learning experience for Filipino youth.” 

“The Smart School-in-a-Bag is our way to provide students and teachers access to the wealth of knowledge through digital learning tools, so that no learner is left behind,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, President and CEO of Smart.  “Our collaboration with the NBA allows us to give more children in remote communities more opportunities to pursue their passion and purpose, and a fighting chance for a better future.” 

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The School-in-a-Bag program underscores the commitment of Smart and its partners to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically by providing access to quality education in the Philippines.   

The collaboration builds on Smart and the NBA’s existing partnership in the Philippines to operate NBA.com/Philippines (the official online NBA destination in the Philippines), distribute NBA League Pass (the league’s premium live game subscription service), and livestream NBA TV Philippines (a localized version of NBA TV – the league’s dedicated 24/7 channel) through its newly launched video streaming app, GigaPlay. 

NBA Cares is the league’s global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA’s mission of addressing important social issues such as education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.  NBA Cares programs and participants have provided more than 5.9 million hours of hands-on service and created more than 1,775 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world.   
Fans can visit www.smart.com.ph and follow Smart Communities on Facebook to learn more about the School-in-a-Bag initiative and other ways to be involved in the program.  Fans can also visit www.nba.com and follow NBA Philippines on Facebook and Twitter for news, updates, scores, stats, videos, and more. 

About the NBA 

The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League.  The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also jointly operate the Basketball Africa League (BAL).  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2020-21 season featured 107 international players from 41 countries.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.9 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. 

About Smart Communications, Inc. 

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is a wholly-owned wireless communications and digital services subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telco company.  Smart serves 96% of the country’s population with its combined 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and 5G network, providing mobile communications services, high-speed internet connectivity, and access to digital services and content to over 71.6 million Filipinos (as of June 2021).   

The Smart School-in-a-Bag is part of Smart’s flagship advocacy which aims to provide access to inclusive quality education in basic to tertiary levels, through Information and Communications Technology (ICT), content, pedagogy, and capacity building to ensure that there is #NoLearnerLeftBehind.  For more information on School-in-a-Bag, visit Smart Communities on Facebook or send an email to LearnSmart@smart.com.ph