MANILA, Phillippines (UPDATED) – As everyone waited for what gift the Ateneo Blue Eagles' benefactor Manny V. Pangilinan will give the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball champions, all he had to do was cross his fingers to make an "X" sign.
Pangilinan told the Ateneo community in a speech on Sunday night, December 3, during the Thanksgiving Mass at the Church of Gesu inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus that he will reward each Blue Eagle an iPhone X. This is aside from the all-expenses-paid trip of the team to Hong Kong where Pangilinan and the Ateneo coaching staff will be planning out Season 81.
"And I'm happy for them to be my guests in Hong Kong. We just have to coordinate with the schedule of coach Tab," added Pangilinan after announcing the iPhone X giveaways.
Pangilinan, an Ateneo alumnus, is the managing director and chief executive officer of First Pacific, a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company with operations located in Asia-Pacific.
"Two weeks after closing out the season, we would usually sit down with the coaches and plan for the next season."
In his speech, Pangilinan recalled that he felt "uneasy" in the Blue Eagles' finals game 2 loss to the archrivals De La Salle University Green Archers. But his belief in the potential of the Blue Eagles remained unfazed as they brought the UAAP title back to Katipunan after 5 years.
Thank you La Salle for such a gracious and sportsmanlike gesture. An example to emulate. pic.twitter.com/Gad05CUmbM — Manny V. Pangilinan (@iamMVP) December 3, 2017
"Finally the championship is back in Loyola and it's full redemption to keep it here for as long as we can," said Pangilinan in his opening words. "Fr. Jett is very happy tonight and I'm actually more gay than happy because after Wednesday, I really felt uneasy."
"You won because of the hard work, the discipline, the focus, the determination and you won without resulting to other means."
Being a benefactor of various sports teams in the Philippines, Pangilinan was already assured of the potential of the Blue Eagles since day one of UAAP Season 80 and that they already made a place in his heart.
"From the first time I saw this team play, this team is quite special to me, like their first game was against Adamson right? I have been exposed to a lot of basketball my whole life but this team had the potential to win from the first game." – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.