Ateneo’s loss is UP’s gainBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
PATRICK “Pato” Gregorio laughed out loud when I voiced my suspicion that it was he who had talked to his boss Manny V. Pangilinan to be the patron of the University of the Philippines’ Maroons.
Pato is a UP alumnus, a member of the Alpha Sigma fraternity, and a high ranking executive of Maynilad, a company owned by the ultra generous sports philanthropist.
I thought it could only be Pato who’d be in a position to implore MVP for much needed assistance to the UAAP team that is wallowing at the bottom of team standings.
Otherwise, why would MVP choose to help the Maroons, among other teams?
As the former Ateneo de Manila University patron himself said in his speech during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Alpha Sigma Fraternity, he has never studied at the State University and has not had much to do with the academe.
MVP admitted though, that he had always been intrigued by “that big school in Diliman, lying behind that naked man with outstretched arms.”
My task was to find out what or who had softened MVP’s heart to make him respond to the Maroons’ cause.
Pato corrected my misimpression. He said MVP’s ties with UP subconsciously started building up as vital posts in his many business concerns were filled up by UP alumni who coincidentally were also Alpha Sigmans or “Masigs”.
It was at the golden anniversary celebration of the Alpha Sigma Fraternity at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last Oct. 10 that MVP made the unexpected announcement that he was supporting the University of the Philippines.
He never said outright that he was helping the UP Maroons, but everybody in the sporting community just took it to mean that he was making a commitment to the varsity team, in the same way that he had made a commitment to the Ateneo Blue Eagles for years and years.
He also initially pledged P5 million to the cause, to be coursed through the Alpha Sigma Fraternity.
Mike Defensor said the entire university will benefit from the donation.
MVP said he accepted the evening’s invitation to be guest-of-honor and keynote speaker because he could not say no to Doy Vea (Smart/Sun head honcho) and Mike Defensor.
“Our businesses depend on too many Alpha Sigmans,” he said. “I’m surrounded in my work by Alpha Sigmans, like Doy Vea, Dindo Manhit, Pato Gregorio, Lito Fider Roger Laraya, EQ Pablo.”
He admitted he has always regarded the university “with the typical outsider attitude—with much admiration but with some dread.
“I know it’s a good school but there’s the impression of militants and leftists, many of whom turn out to be Alpha Sigmans. Only much later did I find out that activists can make good capitalists.
“I don’t need to tell you how many of them joined Smart, Sun Cellular, PLDT, Meralco, Maynilad, even Philex Mining,” MVP said.
Last Wednesday night, MVP was bestowed the distinction of being the very first honorary member of the Alpha Sigma Fraternity.
He now has a big, new family with 1,200 sibs, as of last count, according to Pato.
MVP must have been touched. He will have as brothers the likes of UP professor and PDI columnist Randy David, Sen. Gringo Honasan, Marikina Rep. Nito Quimbo and NTC commissioner Jackie Cruz.
Now MVP will experience first hand in his own words “how a frat touches the heart and soul, and remain there for the rest of one’s life.”
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