KNOWN for his legendary generosity, Manny V. Pangilinan was not about to let Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0's glowing achievement go unrewarded.
The president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas made no announcements when he spoke during a thanksgiving dinner tendered for the Jones Cup champions on Sunday night. But after the affair, Pangilinan quietly gathered all the players in a function room inside the Meralco Lighthouse where they were told of the bonus awaiting the team.
By the time the short meeting was over, all players came out with a wide smile on their faces.
“Hindi naman ganun kalaki,” said a grinning Jeff Chan, who, together with Rain or Shine teammate Gabe Norwood, stand to receive a double windfall in less than a month as they also were part of the Elasto Painters team that won the franchise's first-ever PBA champion team in the last Governors Cup.
No one among the top executives of Smart Communications, PLDT or Meralco – all companies under the MVP Group – would divulge the financial package given out by Pangilinan to this hastily formed group of players which exceeded the expectations of this basketball-crazy nation.
A team insider however, describes the bonus as something "commensurate to what these players are receiving" for a championship won in the pro league.
“It’s not something incredible, but not that really small. It’s just the way of Mr. Pangilinan of saying thank you to the team,” said a top team executive.
“Let’s just say, it’s something that these players may not be receiving during the offseason.”