May 23, 2024

Manny Pangilinan recalls rocky start with FIBA, vows to remain basketball evangelist in farewell to federation’s central board

Manny Pangilinan recalls rocky start with FIBA, vows to remain basketball evangelist in farewell to federation’s central board

On Wednesday, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus received an award called the FIBA Order of Merit.

Manny V. Pangilinan has been one of the main driving forces when it comes to sports development in the Philippines. Without a doubt, no one has surpassed him as a prime mover of Philippine basketball. To do that, he had to mend the country’s scarred relationship with FIBA. He made the move in 2007 and met all sorts of inauspicious signs on the way to the FIBA headquarters.

“Our plane ride to Frankfurt was turbulent and the connecting flight to Geneva was hellish. And the reception given to us was frostier than the weather outside,” MVP said during the XXII FIBA Congress, held in Manila.

“Understandably so, because Philippine basketball was acrimoniously divided then and we were suspended by FIBA at that time,” he continued.

Pangilinan was referring to the suspension handed by FIBA in 2005 due to a power struggle between the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC). Over the years, MVP along with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) have been able to make amends and form a strong bond with FIBA.

“Over time, we managed to defrost this cold start and eventually that relationship leveled up into a warm personal quality,” said the SBP Chairman Emeritus.

Of course, the culmination of MVP’s collaboration with FIBA is the Philippines’ hosting of the FIBA World Cup. With that, he’ll be leaving his seat in the FIBA Central Board with a legacy that is going to be extremely difficult to match.

“Let me just say that this is my last official act in the FIBA Central Board,” Pangilinan revealed.

“My exit does not mean the end of our basketball engagement with FIBA. I assure you that SBP and myself will remain supporters and devout evangelists of FIBA. We are your teammates for life and we will pursue or work together to win for all,” he added.