THE country’s basketball governing body, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), paid tribute to the late Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., calling the late basketball patron a “titan” in the sport.
Widely hailed as a savvy and successful businessman, Cojuangco also made waves in sports, especially with the one he loved the most — basketball.
“Philippine basketball lost a titan,” said the statement issued by the SBP.
“Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr. left an indelible mark in the country not just as a brilliant businessman but also as a passionate sportsman,” the SBP said after the San Miguel Corp. chairman passed away due to a lingering illness on the evening of June 16, 2020. He was 85.
A passionate supporter of the sport, Cojuangco helped push the sport forward when he backed the Northern Consolidated Cement (NCC) national teams, which gained immense success in the 1980s when it won numerous gold medals that included titles in the William Jones Cup in 1981 and 1985 as well as the Southeast Asian Games gold medal in 1985. Its crowning glory came in January 1986, when it won the Asian Basketball Confederation championship.
“Because of his investment with the NCC, Philippine basketball greatly benefitted as it jumpstarted the careers of legendary Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) players and coaches as well,” SBP’s statement continued.
His involvement in those teams helped jumpstart the careers of Hector Calma, Allan Caidic and Jerry Codiñera, all of whom would become legends in Philippine basketball.
In the years that followed, Cojuangco’s teams under the San Miguel umbrella would go on to achieve numerous titles in the PBA. He also backed the basketball team of his alma mater, De La Salle University, attending as many games as he possibly could even during his later years.
“Beyond this, his love for basketball led to the enrichment of the lives of so many players, coaches, and staff who have nothing but great words to say about ‘ECJ.’ We, at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, mourn with the entire nation and extend our deepest condolences to the Cojuangco family.” (JNP)