After coming back with a bang, Rebel Sports retrace its roots after reopening Santolan showroom

After coming back with a bang, Rebel Sports retrace its roots after reopening Santolan showroom


Back with a bang. Rebel Sports is back where it all began, where its revolutionary brand was located in the outskirts of the police's national headquarters.
By Kevin Estrada

QUEZON CITY -- It was a sweet homecoming for Joel Cu in Santolan, as Team Rebel Sports Pilipinas reopened its flagship showroom in Santolan last week after a decade serving overseas clients.

"We are back in Santolan. We opened our first store here a few blocks from here," recalled Cu.

Cu was just 21 when Rebel opened shop first in the outskirts of Camp Crame as a start-up.

At the turn of the new millennium, they made it to the mainstream when Mapua and PCU banner the big R on their uniforms, with the latter winning its lone NCAA title in 2004.

However, after several years of struggle, they shifted their market to the United States and Australia, where their full sublimation of uniforms initially earned the ire of the American football traditionalists who prefer the cut and sew type of jerseys before being widely accepted later on, as they were one of the go-to brands at the grassroots level.
It was a homecoming for Joel Cu (middle) as Rebel Sports retrace its Santolan roots.
But then again, there's was no place like home. So in 2017, they slowly returned to the sportswear industry, with NU and Lyceum the new bearers of their brand in the major college leagues, with the Pirates having the distinction of being just the third men's team that swept the eliminations in NCAA.

"This showroom is made for our kababayan nating Pilipino. We want to produce good uniforms to our fellow Filipinos. Gumagawa nga tayo ng uniform sa ibang bansa pero ngayon, we are opening ourselves back here," he added.
Thanks to coach Jeff Perlas, Lyceum turned to Rebel to revolutionize their uniforms. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz/Dugout Philippines (file)
So how did they do their comeback? Enter Pirates' deputy Jeff Perlas.

"We had this informal chat last year. Sabi ni Joel, 'Jeff, how can we be active in the local sports market?' I was busy in LPU nun," shared Perlas. "For me, one way of promoting a brand is through the athletes. That's the key for this. What I did was we used the players from LPU and other players na kilala natin. From there, we were able to experiment with the power of social media."

"Surprising na last year, umakyat yung sales three-fold. Yung market reacted," added Team Rebel's consultant.

The blessings continue beyond the college scene, as the then GlobalPort (now NorthPort) of the PBA came knocking in for their jersey design.
Finally, Rebel made its pro debut when they have changed the design of then-GlobalPort in the PBA. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz/Dugout Philippines (file)
That breakthrough was all they need as their return to the scene went full circle.

"It's our entry point last year when we rigged the jersey of Globalport," Cu shared.

Since then, the floodgates have opened for Rebel to expand their business, as they are now on 24/7 mode to cater a huge demand from the PE uniforms up to their pro-gear by widening their factory in Antipolo.

The new Santolan showroom was just the icing on the cake for Rebel in 2018, as they have their sights set on 2019 with their Filipinos foremost in their minds.

"The vision for Rebel is to focus on all sports on all levels. Marami pa e. For the public schools, we want to help them out by sponsoring their varsity teams. We are also researching more on how we can give our women's athletes the right uniforms," Cu disclosed.

"Hopefully, in 2019, we can offer more to our kababayan."

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada

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