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Clamor Getting Stronger for MVP to Run as POC Prexy

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The clamor to convince telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan to vie for the presidency of thePhilippine Olympic Committee is reportedly gaining ground fast among a big number of National Sports Associations.

And the snowballing effort to persuade Pangilinan to give the critical matter a second thought, a source inside the MVP group said, has prompted serious reconsideration from the president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines.

The source said that some NSA leaders have assured the business bigwig that a cursory head count shows him ahead, “and many of those on the fence have indicated they will support MVP should he declare himself available” for the post.

“MVP is slowly feeling the pressure to take on the responsibility of going for the presidency,” the insider said. “He is already currently into several sports disciplines as benefactor so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to imagine him taking on a bigger challenge. But no decisions have been made yet.”

POC president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco, who is seeking a third term in the Nov. 30 elections, has earlier offered Pangilinan the position of POC chairman in a power-sharing scheme, but the top honcho at PLDT and Smart Communications politely declined the overture, telling sportswriters during the recent FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup in Tokyo that he “wouldn’t have the time.”

The growing clamor could change all that.

Manny Lopez, first vice president of the POC, has been bruited as a potential challenger to Cojuangco, but he could only do so, according to the POC charter, as an NSA president and not as secretary-general of the handball association, the post he now holds.

To remedy that, earlier reports said Lopez is looking to reclaim his former ABAP post now held by Maynilad Water president Ricky Vargas, a close corporate ally of Pangilinan.

It is not likely though that Vargas, who will be seeking his own fresh mandate during an ABAP general assembly meeting on Oct. 20 in Bago City, Negros Occidental preceding a regional tournament there, would relinquish his post, especially in light of the plea for a Pangilinan presidency in the POC.

The source said a win-win solution would be for Cojuangco, a former veteran Tarlac representative, to step aside, having made his mark in the eight years he had sat as head of the country’s overall sports program, and give way to somebody else.

“That could clear the way for MVP,” the source said. “And it would be a perfect scenario, him running unopposed which would show Philippine sports is ready for unity and development.”

Cojuangco, however, has shown no indication of any plans other than to seek reelection, igniting the clarion call for Pangilinan to step into the plate and take a swing at the POC presidency.


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