MVP-Ateneo sports partnership on again

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MVP back with Ateneo, Bo Perasol new head coach. Photo from coach Chot Reyes’ Twitter account.

MANILA, Philippines — Newly appointed Ateneo coach Bo Perasol braces for the tough task and high expectations even as top sports patron Manuel V. Pangilinan and the Blue Eagles officially announced their reconciliation Monday.

“You feel the pressure, it goes without saying,” said Perasol, the former PBA mentor who steered Powerade to the finals last season.

“But there were no second thoughts on what I signed up for. Among the reasons I left the PBA is to have a change in working environment and [Ateneo’s] winning tradition is inviting.”

Perasol signed a three-year contract with the Eagles starting on Dec. 1. He took over from Norman Black, who stepped down to join Talk ‘N Text in the PBA after guiding the Eagles to a fifth straight UAAP title last month.

Pangilinan’s reconciliation with his alma mater also got the Eagles’ drive for a sixth straight UAAP title rolling with Ateneo president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, saying in a statement that “MVP and the MVP Sports Foundation have agreed to infuse [the school’s sports fund] with a significant donation.”

“[We] have been meeting in an effort to move forward and create a more constructive partnership,” Villarin said in a letter to the university community.

The announcement confirmed an exclusive Inquirer story that Ateneo and Pangilinan were set to patch things up after a serious split last September due to their opposing views on certain issues.

Perasol is hoping for a smooth transition following the graduation of vital cogs Greg Slaughter and Nico Salva.

“It’s a matter of understanding what we have right now,” he said. “We’re losing some of the major players. The challenge is to find a way to address that. The immediate concern is the big men. We have to look for ways to close the gap.”

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