ABOITIZ Foundation Inc. is extending its support to local footballers from the pitch to the classroom.

Aboitiz Foundation president Jon Ramon Aboitiz said they are looking into the possibility of providing educational scholarships for players who excel in the classroom and in the game during this year’s 13th Aboitiz Football Cup.

“We will be identifying these kids who can excel both in their academics and in sports, and support them in achieving their dreams in whatever ways we can,” Aboitiz said.

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The Aboitiz Cup, which started in 1997, has already produced a lot of accomplished football players like former national player Oliver Colina, who now coaches the RP Boys 14-Under team.

“The whole idea behind the Aboitiz Football Cup is the promotion of football among the youth of Cebu. This is how committed we are in supporting football in Cebu,” Aboitiz said.

The Aboitiz Foundation Inc. and the Cebu Football Association (CFA) signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for this year’s tournament, which will start on Aug. 29 at the Aboitiz Sports Field in Mandaue City.

“I am pleased to see the growing popularity of football in Cebu. Since the Aboitiz Cup was launched, it is now Cebu’s premiere football event and the longest running age-group tournament. The Aboitiz Foundation will continue to support the AFC,” Aboitiz said.

This year, the Aboitiz Foundation increased their funding for the tournament from P690,000 to P1.1 million.

Yesterday, Aboitiz Foundation handed over the first P200,000-check to the CFA during the MOA signing. Also present yesterday were Aboitiz Foundation managing trustee Sonny Carpio, Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) chief reputation officer Sebastian Lacson, AboitizLand assistant vice president for external affairs Allan Alfon, and CFA tournament director Adonis Quitoy.

Lacson said football is a sport Filipinos can excel in.

“For football to become popular, more children have to play it and for that to happen, more playing fields have to be put up all over the country,” Lacson said.