THE San Beda Red Lions' top backer, Manny V. Pangilinan, has vowed to continue supporting the team next season in their quest for a rare fourth NCAA men’s basketball championship.
“Tapos na ito, so let’s move forward to next year,” said the astute businessman/sportsman in the din of the celebration at the Big Dome after the Red Lions' blowout win over Letran in the deciding Game Three on Friday..
Asked by Spin.ph whether the statement meant his continuous support for the San Beda basketball program, the chairman of PLDT and Smart Communications answered in the affirmative.
“Yes, of course. Tuluy-tuloy ito,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan was also the top supporter of Ateneo, but differences with the school's officials over key political issues led him to cut his ties with his alma mater before the Blue Eagles put the wraps on a fifth straight UAAP championship.
That the Lions dominated the Knights from start to finish came as a surprise for Pangilinan, who watched the game from ringside while wearing the red-and-white colors of San Beda.
“That was a wow game for San Beda. They played like a champion team,” he said. “Even I was surprised.”
Pangilinan attributed the Red Lions’ success to rookie coach Ronnie Magsanoc, and the players themselves, led by Finals MVP Baser Amer.
“Good coaching, and the players played very well,” he said when asked about the factors that led to San Beda’s lopsided win.
But one to appreciate good effort, MVP also praised the way Letran fought in the series.
“Maraming salamat din sa Letran for giving San Beda a very good fight throughout this championship series,” said the tycoon.