SUPPORTERS in the 70’s and 80’s of Philippine football, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) bigwigs have finally given the beautiful game a shot on the arm it has dreamed of for a long time.
SMC is sponsor of the Davao Aguilas. The Davao Aguilas is now officially called San Miguel Davao Aguilas according to chief executive officer Chito Manuel.
Manuel also pointed out that Aguilas owner Jefferson Cheng negotiated the deal that is a breakthrough for the young Philippine Football League that is only starting to crack the very competitive Philippine sports market dominated by basketball.
When the Soriano family controlled the country’s biggest conglomerate in the 70’s and early 80’s, San Miguel used to maintain a football team in a Senior tournament in the National Capital Region Football Association (NCRFA). The team was then coached by Juan Cutillas and they had players like the legendary Graeme Mackinnon.
Mackinnon now at 71-years-old still remembers his teammates during his stay with the SMC team in 1980-81. They had Rey and Butch Ferraren, Lurex Araneta, Edu Adriano, and many more players who are now mostly senior citizens.
SMC also used to have the Magnolia team coached by Gigi Sanchez and the late Chris Monfort.
SMC also used to support the National Men’s Football championship that was known as the Don Andres Soriano Memorial Cup. SMC through its then subsidiary Coca Cola Philippines also sponsored the Philippine Football Federation’s Coke Go-For-Goal age group program.
When Danding Cojuangco took over SMC, the company’s priority changed and the support for football was withdrawn. The company’s sports program then went all out to basketball. It maintained three teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and even bankrolled some national basketball teams.
Danding still remains as the chairman of SMC and still a supporter of basketball specially the De La Salle University basketball program.
However, nowadays, SMC Vice President Ramon Ang is running the show and probably he has given the green light to support football. Global Cebu owner Dan Palami once courted the support of SMC for the Azkals and for his club but failed to get their nod.
Thank God for Jeff Cheng, he managed to convince San Miguel to go deep in their pockets to sponsor the club. I am just hoping that the support will be longtime.
I am also hoping that SMC would stretch their support to the grassroots. God Bless