IT’S Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy’s turn to return a favor to Malaysia.
Sy has been appointed consultant and adviser of the Malaysian men’s basketball team by no less than Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) president Datu Lua Choon Hann.
The Malaysian executive is currently in the country as guest of Sy, who also invited him to watch the game between Blackwater and Barangay Ginebra on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Astrodome.
Choon Hann, who was elected MABA prexy last year, arrived on Tuesday to meet with Sy and offer him the post which the Blackwater owner readily accepted as a token of gratitude for the help extended by Hann and MABA to women’s basketball in the country.
“He helped us five years ago with women’s basketball,” disclosed Sy, whose product Ever Bilena has been the major backer of the Perlas Pilipinas national squad under coach Pat Aquino.
Although the Filipina cagebelles have yet to win the basketball gold in the Southeast Asian Games, they achieved a milestone in 2015 when the country was officially promoted to Level 1 of the 2017 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship.
Malaysia is considered a power in women’s basketball in the same way the Philippines has been the undisputed force in men's basketball in the Southeast Asian region.
“Mr. Choon Hann said Philippines is the best in basketball that’s why he’s asking a little help from us. Basketball diplomacy tayo, tumulong sila sa atin before, tutulong naman tayo ngayon sa kanila,” said Sy.
The Malaysian youth team is also here in the country to play in the ongoing PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, carrying the Blu Star banner.
Filipino Paul Advincula has since been replaced by Goh Cheng Huat as coach of the Malaysia men’s basketball team, but has been designated by Choon Hann as development coach since as he said, “we feel that’s what he’s best suited for.”
Sy said he doesn’t see any conflict in his role as consultant and adviser of Malaysian basketball and as one of the leading supporters of Philippine sports.
“Malaysia can’t reach our level. Malayo tayo sa kanila,” he said confidently.