CHRISTMAS time came two months ahead for National University patron Hans Sy.
The school’s chief financial backer and chairman considered the Bulldogs’ first UAAP men’s basketball championship in 60 years as an advanced Christmas gift to him.
Sy was one of the thousands of NU supporters who witnessed the Bulldogs make history on Wednesday following their decisive 75-59 win over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
“Parang Christmas gift na ito (UAAP basketball championship), advance Christmas gift,” said Sy, beaming with pride and joy while celebrating the championship with the rest of the Bulldogs before a new league crowd of 25,138 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sy, president of the SM Prime Holdings, said he never promised anything when the Tamaraws took the opener of the best-of-three title series, 75-70.
Instead, his only admonition to the Bulldogs during the Finals was to focus on the game.
True enough, the Bulldogs launched a vicious fightback in Game Two for a 64-47 win, before finishing off the Tamaraws with another strong defensive effort in their winner-take-all match.
“No promise, all I did was to tell them, 'Forget about everything and focus on the game,'” he said.’ “Don’t even talk about whatever they (Tamaraws) did before. So they (Bulldogs) just wanted to win, that’s all.”
The Sy family took control of the school in 2008, infusing the much-needed financial support that slowly transformed the longtime doormat UAAP team into what it is today.