Basketball

After Ateneo, will MVP throw support behind UP?

AKTV/Pranz Kaeno Billones

After recently parting ways with Ateneo, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan seems likely to throw his support behind the University of the Philippines, whose basketball team needs a major overhaul to reclaim its old status as contender in the UAAP.

“Mukhang yun ang direction,” said former PBA coach Bo Perasol, the man who was supposed to succeed Norman Black as mentor of the five-peat champion Blue Eagles but decided not to pursue it following Pangilinan’s parting of ways with Ateneo due to differences on several matters outside of basketball.

With Pangilinan’s backing, the Blue Eagles have won six championships in the last 10 years.

(InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com, the news site of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.)

But while the possibility of Pangilinan supporting UP gets bigger, Perasol said he would rather help UP coach Ricky Dandan come up with a program for the Fighting Maroons, who have struggled to produce wins in the past few seasons, than to replace the mentor.

“If ever I will be asked to join the UP basketball team, I will help out Ricky in the program. I don’t want him to be displaced there,” said Perasol. “Kung titingnan mo, wala talagang materyales yung team, so we have to strengthen the lineup.”

Talks about Pangilinan shifting his support to the state university grew when the sports patron guested in the 50th anniversary of the school’s Alpha Sigma fraternity.

Aside from that, some of Pangilinan’s associates are also graduates of UP, including PBA vice-chairman Mon Segismundo of Meralco, and Patrick Gregorio, Talk ‘N Text’s representative to the PBA Board.

The Meralco executive, though, currently has no idea whether the sports patron is going to support UP next after bankrolling the basketball program of Ateneo the previous years.

“It started when MVP guested in the Alpha Sigma anniversary. If you consider it as a way of supporting the school, that’s a fact. But if you will ask me about whether MVP will support the basketball program, then that’s another thing. This is something na magandang abangan na karugtong after MVP decided to part ways with Ateneo,” said Segismundo.

Although he’s an alumnus of UP, Segismundo said he isn’t trying to influence Pangilinan to support UP.

“I have friends in a lot of schools. Kaibigan namin ang La Salle, Ateneo, Don Bosco, and even Lyceum.”

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