MANILA, Philippines -- Five-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Kim Mangrobang exchanged her athletic gear for a gown and heels on Sunday, when she joined the PBA's opening ceremonies as the muse of the Meralco Bolts.
It was a new experience for the triathlete, who was admittedly surprised to have been asked by the Meralco organization to join them in the parade of teams.
"Ang alam ko, para maging muse ng PBA, you need to be a beauty queen, model, actress. Chineck ko nga 'yung account, mukha ba akong level nila?" she said after the opening ceremonies of the league's 47th season.
But Mangrobang, who won two gold medals in the recent 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, did not look at all out of place and was thrilled with the opportunity to represent national athletes in the PBA's opening ceremonies.
"Super happy ako na nabibigyan ng Meralco ng opportunity 'yung athletes na kagaya namin to represent sports in this country," she said, noting that national athletes share plenty of traits with the Bolts.
"Alam ko lahat ng national athletes are hard workers. To represent the Meralco Bolts, they are a really good and hard working team. [I'm] proud to be the Meralco Bolts' muse," said Mangrobang.
"It's a really different experience and nag-enjoy ako every moment of it."
Making the experience all the more special for Mangrobang is that her teammates in the national triathlon team showed up at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night to cheer her on.
"Super happy ako and grateful sa team ko. We win as one. We rampa as one also," she said, laughing. "Nakakatuwa na nandito sila nanonood. Nakakatuwa noong tinawag yung name ko, naririnig ko na sumisigaw sila."
"Like in SEA Games, ganoon din naman, todo sigaw and nakaka-boost ng confidence especially first time ko mag-muse," she added.
Mangrobang will put her athletic gear back on soon, as she will compete in duathlon in the World Games in Alabama next month.
The 30-year-old native of Manila has ruled the women's triathlon in the SEA Games since 2017, and also won a mixed relay gold in 2019 in the Philippines. In Vietnam, she copped a double gold with victories in triathlon and duathlon.