THE return of Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco as patron of De La Salle has reinvigorated not just the school’s celebrated basketball team, but its whole sports program.
La Salle sports officials credited the San Miguel Corp. chairman for spearheading the `godfather system’ that attracted alumni support for all sports events in the UAAP – a system which they believed led to the school's first general championship since joining the league in 1986.
“It attracted good vibes,” admitted Henry Atayde, the school’s representative to the UAAP board. “It also attracted cooperation and respect.”
Cojuangco returned to La Salle as patron of the men’s basketball team and his entry has attracted a renaissance of the program which led to the successful recruitment of Xavier star Jeron Teng and, recently, Bacolod-based cager Kib Montalbo.
But Atayde said Cojuangco’s entry has also lured several other 'godfathers' for the school’s other sports programs.
A notable godfather that answered the call for support was businessman Mikee Romero, a PBA team owner.
Romero, who owns the Globalport franchise, took over as patron of the women’s volleyball team. The partnership paid dividends right away as La Salle’s Lady Spikers captured the UAAP crown for the third straight season with a two-game sweep of the Ateneo Lady Eagles in the finals.
“That’s the respect we have for him. This is not just about him. He said that it is time to revive some more godfathers and get them involved. That’s where we are right now,” Atayde said.
Br. Bernie Oca, FSC, La Salle vice chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Alumni Relations, said it was the mindset of the athletes to aim not just for the title in their respective sports, but also for the overall title.
“With this general championship, not only did we defocus on basketball, but also attracted a lot of support from the alumni for other sports," he said.
“Every sport was given importance in the mind of OSD (Office of Sports Development) and the university that each sport can contribute a point to the general championship.
“Even if you are a sport that probably has few people watching, in the back of my mind, I’m going to contribute to the general championship,” said Oca.