TOP officials from the San Miguel Corp. and MVP group insisted that there is no favoritism among the teams in their respective conglomerates in the PBA.
The talk was sparked in the wake of Ginebra and Meralco – the underdog teams – upsetting their favored sister squads, San Miguel Beer and TNT Katropa, in the Governors’ Cup semifinals to arrange a finals showdown.
Finals press con host Ronnie Nathanielsz asked Meralco governor Al Panlilio for the reaction of big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, who earlier admitted his disappointment over the ouster of the Texters, the company’s flagship club.
Hesitant to answer the question, Panlilio jokingly asked for Nathanielsz’s home address: “You won’t have power tonight,” he smiled before turning serious.
“Obviously, Talk ‘N Text was favored, but Meralco played really hard. I think MVP saw that,” Panlilio said. “He’s disappointed that Talk ‘N Text didn’t go through, but he’s equally happy and proud that Meralco was able to go through. One team had to win the series, similar to the San Miguel group.”
“I think both owners are happy that at least one team is in the finals,” he added.
SMC representative Robert Non agreed.
“Sa San Miguel group naman, wala naman favoritism dyan eh,” the concurrent league chairman insisted. “They’re all treated the same. Sabi lang sa kanila, play your best and whoever wins, congratulations. Yun lang sinabi nung boss (Ramon S. Ang) namin. Ganun lang.”
“Walang favorites, favorites na dapat ito ang manalo, ito… Wala yun. Hindi pwede yun,” he added. “Dapat parehas ang treatment mo sa teams.”
At the start of the press con, Nathanielsz praised the league for “reinforcing its integrity” after the two underdog squads advanced to the championship round.
Meralco rookie Chris Newsome even shared his take.
“I think this shows that the PBA definitely has stepped up as far as competitiveness, seeing a new team in the finals and seeing a team that hasn’t been in the finals in a while compete against each other,” the Rookie of the Year candidate said. “The fans will definitely get their money’s worth.”