SAN Miguel Corp. does not stop shocking us with moves bordering on the extraordinary.
In its 2017 maneuver that rocked the very foundations of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) top hierarchy, SMC snared Christian Standhardinger. It dwarfed in astute craftiness the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The spin sparked a virtual outrage from the camp of Manny V. Pangilinan (MVP), the owner of three PBA teams Meralco, NLEx and TNT.
It was on record that TNT had first set eyes on Standhardinger, the 6-foot-8 Fil-German, whose exploits with Gilas Pilipinas had caught the fancy of MVP’s eagle-eyed men.
But with some creativity and resourcefulness, RSA’s (Ramon S. Ang) lieutenants, always quick to the draw, were able to snatch Standhardinger away from what looked like MVP’s vise-like grip on the marquee catch.
The coup forced MVP’s factotums to pin the blame on Commissioner Chito Narvasa, who approved Standhardinger’s trade to San Miguel Beer.
He would shortly resign when a majority of the 12 PBA governors could not be mustered following a TNT-instigated bid to oust Narvasa.
“I am resigning to save the PBA from disintegrating,” said Narvasa. “It is a sacrifice I’m willing to take for the league I have loved since its birth in 1975.”
Narvasa’s departure paved the way for the sensational ascent to the top PBA post by Willy Marcial, whose rise from being a mere statistician to become the league’s 10th commissioner was easily the biggest PBA story in 2018.
It was only rivalled in prominence by SMC’s Grand Slam of sorts in 2018, after the country’s biggest conglomerate bagged all three PBA crowns through its teams San Miguel Beer (Philippine Cup), Barangay Ginebra (Commissioner’s Cup) and Magnolia (Governors’ Cup). It was a first in the annals of the loop.
And, just days before the PBA opening on Jan. 13, SMC announced the arrival of Jimmy Alapag into the SMB coaching staff. If that’s not another big blow to chief basketball rival MVP, I don’t know what is.
For, isn’t Alapag an MVP pillar—a TNT hotshot at that—since 2002?
MVP must be twisting in the wind?