With the uncertainty surrounding the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, many Filipino athletes struggle with their daily routines and workouts with limited equipment and training space from their respective homes.
Some 54 kilometers away from the capital Manila, a top-notch sports complex will serve as a temporary safe haven anew for the national team members where they can go all-out with their preparation sans the distraction and threat brought by COVID-19.
The national men’s basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, was first to arrive at the Inspire Sports Academy (ISA) in Calamba, Laguna to kick off the so-called “Calambubble” in preparation for the third and last leg of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga next month.
Olympic hopefuls in boxing, taekwondo, and karate are set to follow suit this week, making their first face-to-face meetings since resorting to train-from-home setups last year due to quarantine.
That said, what’s inside the Inspire Sports Academy and how come it became a safe haven for the Philippine national team?
Filipino athletes will get to maximize the world-class training facilities and amenities at Inspire, located inside the National University-Laguna campus.
After about an hour and a few minutes of smooth driving, delegates will temporarily live in a dormitel with 32 dorm and 20 hotel types and four executive rooms, for a total of 60 rooms with 176 beds.
But what’s most outstanding are the sports facilities itself, from the state-of-the art fitness and gym hub to its actual sporting venues — a wide football pitch that easily catches the attention of visitors upon entry and its indoor courts which can be utilized for different sporting events — be it basketball or volleyball, to name a few.
In fact, Chooks 3×3 resumed play last October at Inspire and its classic-looking basketball facility was transformed into the black-themed design of the league, accompanied with lights and sound system plus electronic operations.
With the success of the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup, Inspire got the nod of its former delegates who got to witness first-hand the top-of-the-line sports complex.
A month after, Gilas Pilipinas conducted a training camp in “Calambubble” for the second window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, with the national men’s basketball team eventually winning against Thailand in Bahrain.
True to its name INSPIRE, which stands for INtegrated Sciences, Performance Innovation and REcovery, the sports academy will be able to give hope to Filipino athletes as well as the much-needed convenience amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Aside from hosting training camps under a bubble setup, Inspire also provides various programs for aspiring and rising athletes with their 360-degree sports science and educational support.
One of which is that athletes wouldn’t have to go far for their health and safety concerns as Inspire had partnered with Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC) for its Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic.
And this 360-degree support is a huge boost for the national athletes seeking Olympic berths and the current Gilas team since the 2021 timetable was deemed compressed with the freeze of sportings events last year.