Pangilinan received the plum he shares with Ang during the PSA Awards Night on Monday.
If anyone said years ago the rival MVP and SMC blocs will collaborate, fans will probably scoff at the idea and dismiss it as preposterous right away.
But that was exactly what happened when Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP) and Ramon S. Ang (RSA) joined hands in hosting the FIBA World Cup in Manila in 2023.
And to say that it’s a blessing to Philippine basketball is an understatement as the partnership spilled over to the Asian Games in Hangzhou China, where the Gilas Pilipinas brought home the gold medal at the expense of Jordan.
MVP said the conquest was a proud moment, not just for the rival PBA factions.
“It’s a proud moment for our people and and to all of us at the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) to be kings of Asia again — and to do it in China for better measure,” he said.
“Pitong taon matapos nila [tayo] gulangan sa Changsha. Ni-lowbatt electric bus at sinira basketball net sa stadium,” he added in jest, probably referencing to the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship where Gilas wound up second to China.
“Ngayon lowbatt na programa ng China at mukang hot water yata ang kanilang foreign coach at pati si Yao Ming.”
For the breakthrough collaboration, the two biggest sports patrons were hailed Executives of the Year during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards Night on Monday at the Diamond Hotel.
“This award is truly special for me. But accepting it with Ramon just makes it extra special,” said MVP, whose collaboration with RSA was also extended to tollways and powerplants.
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He went on to heap praise on the men and women who tell stories of athletes such as the Gilas Pilipinas, saying their jobs are as important as anything in nation building.
“It is easy to diminish yourselves, to say that you don’t write about politics or global security. But that is not your business. Your business is in optimism and hope, currencies that lift the spirit of our people,” he said.
“Yours is a vital and indispensable job and I’m really honored that those engaged in the work of sustaining our national spirit regard me and Ramon as well. I assure you both of us think highly of all of you as well.”