Danding Cojuangco likely to step down as chief La Salle backer
MANILA, Philippines – Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the chairman of San Miguel Corporation and chief patron of the La Salle men’s basketball program, will likely step down from his role as the main backer of the Green Archers, according to multiple sources who have spoken to Rappler with request for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the topic.
According to sources, Cojuangco, 84, could step down because of the desire to spend more time with his family. Rappler also learned that many within De La Salle University have been aware of Cojuangco’s impending decision as early as before the opening of UAAP Season 81.
“We haven’t met yet with the brothers or the management,” said De La Salle University board representative Edwin Reyes when asked for confirmation.
The Green Archers finished the men’s basketball tournament with a fifth-best record of 7-7 following a blowout victory over the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, October 30, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Despite the victory, DLSU missed the Final Four for the second straight year and for the fourth time since 2011.
It remains uncertain under whose leadership the La Salle program will move forward with if the era of “Danding” comes to an end, but sources revealed that managers Terry Capistrano and Raffy Villavicienco will be present to guide the program, as they have done over the past years.
There have also been whispers that Cojuangco’s role as chief patron could be taken over by prominent names like Ramon S. Ang (also of San Miguel Corporation) or Enrique Razon, Jr. La Salle’s sports complex in its campus in Taft Avenue, Manila, is named after the latter, who used to back DLSU’s men’s basketball program during some of their most accomplished campaigns.
Cojuangco’s support of the Green Archers began at the start of this decade, during which he helped steer the program to two championships (2013, 2016), another finals appearance (2017), and two more Final Four appearances (2012, 2014). With him leading the way, La Salle maintained its reputation as a top-tier college basketball program in the Philippines, and a premier destination for blue-chip recruits.
Following Season 82, La Salle will lose graduating team captain Andrei Caracut plus all 3 of its one-and-done players, significantly the athletic Jaime Malonzo, who prospered in the system of consultant Jermaine Byrd.
When the former NBA D-League coach was tasked to take over the Green Archers, he was signed to a three-year contract. But it remains uncertain if Byrd will be back for Season 83.
Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar, La Salle’s best local players, each have one year left of playing eligibility. After playing without a foreign student-athlete in 2019, DLSU is expected to have one next season in Senegalese big Amadou N'Diaye, along with a new Fil-Am recruit. – Rappler.com