MERALCO is battling Barangay Ginebra for the PBA Governors’ Cup for a team executive who has been battling an illness for a while now.
The Bolts are offering their games this conference to team governor Al Panlilio, who team manager Paolo Trillo bared is recovering from an undisclosed illness that kept him from watching the team's games the past few months.
“There’s a special reason for us in wanting to win it all this year,” Trillo said in the finals press conference on Tuesday. “Our team governor Al Panlilio can't be with us right now, he was attending to a medical condition for the past months.”
“At the start of the conference, we got together as a team and said we want to win a championship for governor Al,” he added.
Despite his absence, Panlilio, who is also the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), has made sure to make his presence felt this conference, according to Trillo.
“He's very much involved with the team; he may not be in the games, but he's very much involved in the planning and everything that goes on in the team,” Trillo said. “That really is extra motivation for us to win the championship.”
Panlilio, though, showed his recovery by making a surprise appearance in the Bolts’ semifinal-opening game against Star in Biñan, Laguna last October 1, a few days after arriving from New York.
“He’s really been a source of inspiration for us this conference,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “He’s been battling an illness, but thankfully, thank the Lord, he’s getting better, getting stronger. Hopefully he’ll be at the games and be able to watch us.”