Meet a tireless basketball dreamer
THERE are secrets to success that have remained hidden because the great stories have remained untold. Take the case of the National University Lady Bulldogs, who gun for the UAAP women’s basketball championship today. There’s very little known about a tireless basketball dreamer who helped and guided the Lady Bulldogs from the bottom to the top.
His name is Dioceldo Sy, who fell in love with basketball in 1976, the year the fabled Crispa Redmanizers won the PBA’s first Grand Slam.
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Sy, a working high school student, would find a way to secure PBA tickets by being a regular visitor in the original PBA Office at Manila Jockey Club. He would later sell the tickets to his clients. Dioceldo was a salesman/messenger for cosmetic products. He was earning P300 pesos a month but during the PBA championship series, he would easily earn P3,000 by selling and personally delivering the sacred PBA tickets to his valued clients.
In 1983, as a young entrepreneur, Sy established his own beauty-products distribution business named Ever Bilena.
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Fast forward to 1997, Sy needed an avenue to promote a detergent brand he was distributing so he joined the PBL as a guest team and took in Asi Taulava as his main attraction for Blu Detergent.
As a regular member of the PBL, Sy took on a bigger challenge in 2000 by accepting the nomination to become the chair of what was referred to as a dying league.
Heavy in debt, the PBL was at a crossroads. Sy restructured the league’s finances by advancing his league dues for the next two seasons so the PBL could pay its debts to its then carrying station People’s Television Network. The once dying league rebounded and continued operations for another decade until it finally folded in 2010.
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Sy had dreamed of owning a PBA team like his idol Danny Floro.
While preparing for his pro league goal, he joined the PBA’s farm system the D-League.
In 2012, Sy took the cudgels for a doormat UAAP women’s basketball team—the National University Lady Bulldogs, the perennial punching bag in the UAAP.
He took over the program and brought in Patrick Aquino, a former PBL player from his own team who had won two WPBL (Women’s Philippine Basketball League) championships.
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The Sy-Aquino tandem worked wonders for the Lady Bulldogs who made it all the way to the finals of the 2013 UAAP season. Last season the Lady Bulldogs came back with vengeance and swept the 2014 season. Today, the Lady Bulldogs will gun for a rare back-to-back sweep of the 2014 and 2015 UAAP women’s basketball competition.
Sy’s support for women’s basketball, by the way, was not limited to NU. With the help of Aquino, he took over the national women’s basketball program. From a lowly rank of 16th in Asia—boosted by “family-like atmosphere” system and treatment—Perlas Pilipinas was promoted to Level 1 in Asia as it made a jump all the way to fifth, the best ever ranking of the national women’s team in history.
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Dioceldo got his wish and finally became a PBA team owner last year. Only thing is that his team (Blackwater Elite) is the current punching bag of the PBA. Sy knows his time will come. He has been there before and he knows the secret to a successful team—thanks to great things he leaned from from the legendary team owner Danny Floro.