ATENEO on Monday announced that Manny Pangilinan is back as the school's top patron, continuing a partnership that has seen the Blue Eagles put together one of the most dominant reigns in college basketball.
Just months after Pangilinan announced he was cutting ties with his alma mater over issues related to mining and the RH Bill, the school released a statement officially confirming the reconciliation, leading to a "significant" fund infusion from the MVP Sports Foundation and the appointment of Bo Perasol as Blue Eagles coach effective December 1.
The reconciliation was a result of days of meetings between businessman-sportsman Pangilinan and Ateneo president Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin SJ, who said they have agreed to put the conflict behind them and "move forward and create a more open and constructive partnership."
"Over the past few days, Mr Manuel V. Pangilinan and I have been meeting in an effort to move forward and create a more open and constructive partnership. Our dialogue touched upon various matters (both immediate and long-term) that involve the Ateneo de Manila," Villarin said.
Villarin said it was also Pangilinan who set the stage for Perasol's appointment by setting up a separate meeting between the coach and school officials.
Perasol had initially signed a three-year deal with the school that was rescinded "by mutual consent" after the parting of ways between Pangilinan and his alma mater, with the coach insisting that his loyalty lies with the businessman.
With Pangilinan's imprimatur, Villarin said he reconvened the school's search committee which later reiterated their choice of Perasol as the next Ateneo coach. Villarin later thanked Pangilinan for the "gesture of goodwill."
“With the affirmation and support of the search committee, I am pleased to announce that Coach Bo shall be the head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles beginning 1 December 2012. We are grateful to MVP for his gesture of goodwill,” Villarin said in the statement.
Ateneo finalized the hiring of Perasol on Friday.
“In view of this development, I reconvened the search committee, which had earlier recommended Coach Bo as their candidate for the said post. The committee met last Friday, 24 November, and confirmed their recommendation in respect of Coach Bo,” Villarin said.
With the return of Pangilinan as top patron, Villarin also announced that a Basketball Endowment Fund originally created to fill the financial gap left by the business mogul has been turned into a Sports Endowment Fund that will now support not just the multi-titled basketball squad but all teams under the school's program.
Pangilinan's own MVP Sports Foundation got the ball rolling for the SEF by making what the school said was a "significant donation" to the fund.
Villarin also said the fund will be supervised by the school.
“I have decided to expand the scope and mission of this fund to include all athletic programs beyond basketball, as we believe in the wisdom of the SEF being the umbrella capital fund which will sustain our athletes and sports programs for the long term. Thus, contributions to basketball and all other athletic programs shall henceforth be channeled through the SEF," he said.
“The Ateneo de Manila will supervise this fund with the appropriate governance and management systems to ensure the smooth running of all our athletic programs. Under Fr Nemesio Que SJ, the team tasked with oversight of the SEF has begun their work.”