MAKE no mistake about it - I love Manny V. Pangilinan to death.
I will always feel a sense of gratitude after he helped save Philippine basketball from the clutches of the hated Basketball Association of the Philippines regime almost a decade ago.
It was also about that time when he built a program now known as Gilas Pilipinas, which has led the Philippines on the road back to respectability in the sport closest to Filipinos' hearts.
That is why it was painful to see MVP take the fall when he manned up to the 'Last Home Stand' basketball disaster concocted by his most trusted men on that forgettable Tuesday night.
Worse, the head of the country's biggest telecommunications company got his signals crossed in two baffling statements he gave in an interview with Luchi Valdez on TV5's main newscast the next day.
First statement: "Hindi kami familiar with the rules of the NBA."
That is simply hard to believe. How can that be when MVP once made a bid to co-own NBA ballclubs the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors, right?
And isn't he surrounded by some of the best basketball minds this side of the world?
Second statement: "We didn't want to deal with the complexities of the NBA."
As one of the top businessmen in the land, Mr. Pangilinan has at his disposal some of the best legal minds in the country, anyone of whom could have spared a little time browsing over the NBA terms of engagement for the use of its players for charity events and the likes.
This isn't the first time that MVP has owned up to his mistakes - and that of his men. (Remember the plagiarized speech during the 2010 Ateneo commencement exercises?)
That fateful night of of July 22,2014, Manny V. Pangilinan, for the sheer embarrassment, could have simply axed those who made a mess out of what was supposed to be a laudable project.
But he chose not to.
Instead he challenged his embattled men to get their acts together for the coming 2014 Fiba World Cup.
MVP said: "We should keep the flames of desire and passion for Philippine basketball alive. And it will be helpful if Coach Chot (Reyes) can bring us to the second round (of the Fiba World Cup) in Spain."
If you don't see that as a warning, try reading between the lines.