ATENEO has launched a fund drive as it begins life after Manny V. Pangilinan, whose financial support had helped the school's Blue Eagles soar to new heights in the UAAP.
In a memo released by the school, Ateneo president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin said the Basketball Endowment Fund hopes to raise enough funds from private supporters for the school's basketball teams, which had been previously funded by Pangilinan until the tycoon severed his ties with the school.
The Katipunan-based school is coming off a fifth straight UAAP championship, but the team's future is in doubt with the departure of coach Norman Black and stars Nico Salva and Greg Slaughter as well as the absence of support from Pangilinan which sources said used to be as high as P25 million annually.
“With MVP’s departure, we have had to reassess our basketball programs and institute structural changes to offset this loss,” said Villarin in the memo.
“After consulting those who have been involved in and instrumental to these programs, I have decided to establish a Basketball Endowment Fund to provide for the operations and advancement of our men’s, women’s, and juniors’ basketball programs. In this way, as in the past, we do not have to draw from the revenue streams of our University Athletics Office to support basketball.”
In the memo, Villarin also reiterated his gratitude to MVP for creating a basketball program that supported not only the seniors team but the women’s and juniors basketball programs as well.
Villarin said that the school is assembling a team led by Fr. Nemesio Que, a longtime chaplain of the Blue Eagles, that will assess the current cost profile, define funding targets and establish policies and structures, and marketing strategies of the BEF.
Villarin said that this early, there have been members of the Ateneo community who have expressed their intention to support the program.
“Even now I am consoled by the groundswell of concern and support coming from those who have signified their intention to step up and help us move to the next level. I would like to promise everyone in the university community that we will be resolute and generous in looking after our athletes who represent us when they take to the fields to fight the good fight and finish the race.”