MVP to Meralco Bolts: 'Job well done' on making PBA Finals
MANILA, Philippines – It was either a win-win or a bittersweet moment for business tycoon and sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan when the final buzzer sounded Monday night, October 3.
One of his professional basketball teams made history, while the other sulked in painful defeat.
But Pangilinan, simply known as MVP, was nonetheless proud of what his Meralco Bolts have accomplished after 6 years of existence in the PBA.
"It was either 5 or 6 years, but at long last, they're in the Finals," the soft-spoken team owner said after Meralco survived its championship-caliber sister team TNT, 94-88, to finally reach the Finals for the first time.
"Congratulations to Meralco, they played a good series. To have beaten a team like Talk 'N Text for 3 straight games is quite a feat. So they deserve all the congratulations, and a job well done."
'They wanted to win more'
Both TNT and Meralco are two of 3 PBA teams owned by MVP, the other being the NLEX Road Warriors, which also made the playoffs but got booted out in the first round.
TNT was the clear favorite to win the best-of-5 semifinals with its superb play and its 10-1 record for the top seed after the eliminations. Meralco, which had to go through a playoff for the twice-to-beat and eliminate an equally dangerous Mahindra in the quarterfinals, was expected to yield once again to its more seasoned sister team.
The Bolts have undergone an impressive 180-degree turnaround coming off a dismal 1-10 Philippine Cup performance 8 months ago to a 4-game semis victory and a Finals appearance.
"They were well-coached, and the team played with a lot of intensity and commitment and energy, which I did not see in Talk 'N Text for the last 3 games," Pangilinan said.
"They wanted to win more, so I think it's as simple as that. Now, why Talk 'N Text didn't want to put the effort is a big mystery. I don't understand it. But you know, it's a tribute to Meralco, a tribute to the Bolts. They deserve to win."
Pangilinan did not speak to TNT after the tough loss – in which star guard Jayson Castro got ejected with still over two minutes to go – saying the team won't yet be able to properly absorb what he tells them.
He wants to "let them process the defeat" in the coming offseason.
MVP said team governor Al Panlilio will be in charge of giving Meralco bonuses for its feat.
Meralco will face the winner of the other semifinal matchup between San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-7 series starting Friday. The other semis will play a deciding game 5 on Tuesday night, October 4. – Rappler.com