Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, the top sports patron of Ateneo, has decided to part ways with the university, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
He explained his decision in a letter to Ateneo president Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, saying that it stems from his alma mater’s position on mining and the Reproductive Health Bill. Pangilinan chairs Philex Mining Corporation.
(InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com, the news site of TV5, which is also chaired by Pangilinan.)
“I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally,” wrote Pangilinan in the letter. (Click here to read full letter.)
He added that these differences must lead to “my complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo.”
The news comes as a shock for fans of the university’s sports program, for which the businessman has been the No. 1 supporter. His entry as the basketball team’s top patron has coincided with a return to glory for the Blue Eagles, which has won five UAAP championships in the past 10 years, including the last four.
With financial support from Pangilinan’s companies, Ateneo has been able to attract top basketball talent from all over the country. The Blue Eagles also regularly hold training camps abroad to develop their players.
The two Ateneo coaches that led the team to titles, Joel Banal and Norman Black, were also employed by Pangilinan’s Talk ‘N Text squad in the PBA during and after their tenure with the Blue Eagles. Black is set to give up Ateneo coaching duties after the season to take over the Tropang Texters.
Former Blue Eagle Doug Kramer took to Twitter to ask a question playing on the minds of many alumni and fans of the squad. “Wow, so MVP ‘completely disengages’ himself from Ateneo. No more coach Norman and MVP next year. Curious what will be of the sports programs,” wrote Kramer.
Pangilinan’s involvement with Ateneo goes well beyond sports. He funded scholarships as well as the construction of several buildings, including the Manuel V. Pangilinan Center for Student Leadership. He was also a member of the school’s Board of Trustees until 2010, when he resigned after a speech he delivered was found to have contained plagiarized parts.
» Ginebra’s plan: Let Tony Mitchell score, but shut down Talk ‘N Text locals
» Win or Go Home: Ginebra, Talk ‘N Text clash for finals seat in Game Five
» Embarrassed after Game Three, Ginebra players display spirit in do-or-die victory