After tapping Kai Sotto as its first Filipino global ambassador, PUMA is doubling down on the future of Philippine basketball by recruiting players from the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) for its inaugural roster of the PUMA PH Hoops Squad.
The eight-man squad, headlined by UAAP Season 85 MVP Malick Diouf, embodies PUMA’s ForeverFaster mantra, which captures the game’s exhilarating atmosphere of bravery, confidence, determination, and joy.
Joining Diouf on the roster is fellow University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon Chicco Briones, alongside University of the East Red Warriors Jack Cruz-Dumont and Gjerard Wilson, Far Eastern University Tamaraw’s Jorick Bautista and Xyrus Torres, and National University Bulldogs’ Patrick Yu and Jolo Manansala. Diouf and Briones were most notably on the UP squad that recently had a runner-up finish for Season 86.
“PUMA brings a lot of support to student-athletes. The shoes are comfortable, helping my game improve a lot,” says the decorated Diouf, adding that the LaMelos are his favorite sneakers to hoop in. After a storied collegiate career, Diouf has plans as big as his 6’11” frame, sharing that he is eyeing to take his talents to the “PBA, PBL, G-League, even Europe.”
PUMA PH Hoops Squad
For the athletics brand, choosing the players meant giving them the support they need to make a mark on the Philippine basketball scene throughout the years.
“The PUMA PH Hoops Squad consists of young athletes who are arguably deemed the future of Philippine basketball,” remarks Paolo Misa, PUMA Philippines Country Manager. “Recognizing the exceptional skills of the new breed of Pinoy hoopers in shaping the future of Philippine basketball, PUMA intends to play an active role in carving their path and etching their names in the country’s sports history by providing them a support system to help them grow and develop as athletes.”
The UAAP stalwarts join a global PUMA Hoops Squad headlined by NBA and WNBA hoopers like LaMelo Ball, Michael Porter Jr. RJ Barrett, Chris Boucher, Deandre Ayton, Kyle Kuzma, Breanna Stewart, and Skylar Diggins-Smith.
To celebrate its Class of 2023, PUMA collaborates with Complex Philippines for a yearbook-style lookbook that not only highlights the players’ hoop skills, but also their dreams, goals, and promise of a bright future in Philippine basketball. Each sported the PUMA Hoops apparel released this year, which included tees, hoodies, and footwear such as the LaMelo Ball signatures, the PUMA MB.02 and MB.03 La France, and the All-Pro NITRO, famously worn by Kai Sotto for his NBA Summer League debut.
PUMA promises that the PH Hoops Squad will grow, not only with the roster but also in the brand’s commitment to supporting the future of Philippine basketball.
“We aim to grow this exclusive group of elite basketball athletes. We will sign more athletes in the near future to further solidify this talented crop of players. Our commitment to these athletes, who are no doubt some of the future of Philippine basketball, and the sports will live on,” says Misa.
Art Paulo Correa
Grooming Nadynne Esguerra