ATENEO officials on Tuesday thanked sports patron Manny Pangilinan for allowing Norman Black to stay on as head coach of the Eagles for the rest of the season.
In a statement, Ateneo president Jose Ramon Villarin said that he is grateful to MVP for allowing Black to stay on and complete the Eagles' quest for a fifth successive UAAP championship.
Black had called off his plan to resign as head coach of Ateneo after Pangilinan, the man who hired him for the job and his boss at Smart Communications, parted ways with the school over opposing stands on the RH Bill and mining.
Ateneo's representative to the UAAP board, Emmanuel Fernandez, also admitted to Spin.ph that a major concern when Pangilinan announced he was withdrawing support to the school’s programs was the possibility that the Eagles may play the rest of the tournament without a head coach.
A sigh of relief followed on Tuesday morning when Black informed school officials he was staying for the remainder of the season after Pangilinan, his employer at Talk N Text in the PBA, asked him to stay on.
“Actually, doon ako mas kinabahan,” yung possibility na wala kaming coach,” Fernandez said.
The Blue Eagles practice went on as scheduled on Monday even when Black was in Hong Kong to speak with Pangilinan.
“It’s good for the team that Norman will be there. Hopefully, we will win the title,” Fernandez said.
Here is Villarin's complete statement:
“Earlier today, Mr Norman Black told me that in view of recent events, he informed MVP of his intention to step down as head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. MVP, however, asked him to continue coaching the Blue Eagles until the end of the current season. We are grateful to MVP for this gesture.
"Let us continue to support our athletes.”
In a separate statement, Villarin said that Ateneo is accepting MVP’s decision to part ways with the school.
“As we accept this decision with sadness, we honor it with profound respect. Through the years, MVP’s presence and support in various capacities have helped Ateneo achieve its mission and deepen its identity. Let us continue to accord him the gratitude and respect he deserves as an exceptional alumnus and leader.”