View Full Version : Ateneo breaks Hapee hookup But SBC stays with Burger King

10-01-2008, 09:47 PM
Ateneo breaks Hapee hookup

But SBC stays with Burger King

By Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:59:00 10/01/2008

MANILA, Philippines—What started out as a potentially “magical” partnership has turned into a breakup caught in a swirl of intrigue.

A day after a statement announcing newly-crowned UAAP champion Ateneo de Manila University’s hookup with Philippine Basketball League squad Hapee crashed the sports pages, the two parties said on Tuesday they were parting ways with the Blue Eagles initiating the split.

“Ateneo has pulled out,” Hapee team manager Bernard Yang told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview. “We are very disappointed.”

The breakup, and the subsequent lack of any reason for the move, has pushed the issue into the edge of controversy, one that reportedly traces its roots to the recent NCAA championship.

Pushed for a comment, PBL executive director Butch Maniego simply told the Inquirer in a separate phone interview: “You do the math.”

And the equation points back to the San Beda College-Jose Rizal University duel for the NCAA crown where, before the deciding Game 3 of the series, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad threatened to pull out his referees amid insinuations that officiating fell below par during the Bombers’ Game 2 victory.

Officially, though, no reason was given. Yang said he is clueless on the reason of the Ateneo pullout, although Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres and Hapee team owner Cecilio Pedro reportedly discussed the matter Tuesday afternoon.

Ateneo athletic director Ricky Palou said he has no knowledge of the pullout.

The Blue Eagles and the San Beda Red Lions have a common backer in Smart/PLDT chief Manny V. Pangilinan, who is also president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

After Game 2 of the NCAA series, PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad said he received a phone call from SBP executive director Noli Eala where the latter questioned the officiating of the game handled by the PBL referees.

Eala has denied making the call. San Beda eventually wound up with the NCAA crown after winning Game 3.

Yang was hoping that Ateneo and Hapee could relive their “magic together,” citing the time the team won a PBL title with the help of ex-Blue Eagles Rich Alvarez, LA Tenorio and Larry Fonacier.

Under the suspended agreement, Hapee was supposed to acquire the services of Rabeh Al-Hussaini, the UAAP MVP, finals MVP Nonoy Baclao, Chris Tiu and Eric Salamat.

Allaying fears that the Ateneo pullout has something to do with the NCAA finals, San Beda College is still pushing through with its link-up with Burger King.

San Beda rector Fr. Mateo De Jesus said late Tuesday afternoon the school has agreed “in principle” with the owners of the club on the tie-up.

“We are just sorting out other minor details like who among the Red Lions will be part of the team,” De Jesus told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Whoppers coach Allan Gregorio said they will tap a maximum of six San Beda players to the team that already includes Marcy Arellano, Jason Ballesteros, Woody Co and Nestor David.

Also partnering with a top basketball school is five-time defending champion Harbour Centre, which tied up with Far Eastern University.