Rival tycoons with shared love for basketball honored as PSA Executives of the Year

Rival tycoons with shared love for basketball honored as PSA Executives of Year

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:25 AM January 08, 2024

MVP SBP Panlilio Fiba World Cup

SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan and president Al Panlilio during the Fiba World Cup opening at Philippine Arena. -MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Owners of two of the country’s biggest conglomerates who are both enamored with sports in general and basketball in particular, Ramon S. Ang and Manny V. Pangilinan will have a rare moment on stage later this month when the Philippine Sportswriters Association honors them with the Executives of the Year award for keying a great basketball moment in the year that passed.

The tycoons will be feted by the country’s oldest media organization on Jan. 29 at Manila Hotel in the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Annual Awards Night after they came together at a critical moment that led to the Philippines reclaiming the Asian Games (Asiad) cage gold the country chased for more than six decades.


Ang is the CEO of San Miguel Corp., while Pangilinan heads First Pacific and the duo’s rivalry in basketball is rooted even in college with their alma maters. They also own three teams each in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).


But one moment last year had them working closely to form a Gilas Pilipinas crew that turned back tremendous odds in Hangzhou, China, last October as the Philippines, for the first time since 1962, is the king of basketball in the region.

The best of the best in Philippine sports in 2023 will be feted in a celebration presented by ArenaPlus, the leading sports entertainment in the Philippines, and major sponsors Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO and PLDT/Smart.

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena, on whom many feel rests the biggest chance of the Philippines in winning gold in the Paris 2024 Olympics, has been named Athlete of the Year.

Also backing the event are PBA, Rain or Shine, 1-Pacman party list of Rep. Mikee Romero, and Premier Volleyball League.

Their first gig

The Ang-Pangilinan partnership actually started in the country’s successful cohosting of the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) World Cup, where the SMC group came on board as major partner of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas—of which Pangilinan is chairman emeritus—to help defray the staggering cost of staging the event being held in the Philippines for the first time in 45 years.

But their biggest collaboration happened during the 19th Asian Games at a time when Gilas Pilipinas lost the core of its Fiba World Cup team, including head coach Chot Reyes.


With barely three weeks left before departing for Hangzhou, the two giant corporations held a landmark meeting at the last minute and mapped out the course of action it will take for the country’s Asiad campaign.

Tim Cone was elevated from deputy to head coach of the Philippine team, while players from both the SMC and MVP franchises were made available for inclusion to the Gilas Pilipinas roster.

Given up for dead, the hastily assembled unit of Cone came back from the grave and pulled off a miraculous 77-76 comeback win in the semifinals against host and defending champion China behind the heroic effort of Justin Brownlee, whose two improbable three pointers in the final 23 seconds lifted the Filipinos to the dramatic victory.

Gilas later took care of business against Jordan in the gold medal play, 80-70, to ignite a celebration of an entire nation that treats the sports as a religion.

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Incidentally, both Ang and Pangilinan were previous winners of the award, with Pangilinan honored in 2014 Ang four years later.

TAGS: Basketball, Sports

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