Can you imagine a world without San Miguel basketball? And by that, we mean all franchises the company runs in the PBA and not just the San Miguel Beermen. That would be a massive blow not just to the second-oldest professional basketball league in the world but to the Filipino culture in general.
Fortunately for the PBA and the legions of Beermen, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots diehards (and the team’s respective players), those teams continue to operate. But, the idea of the said franchises leaving the PBA, and to an extent, the very fabric of the domestic psyche was close to actually happening multiple times before, as divulged by San Miguel president Ramon Ang.
In a recent interview with Anthony Taberna, Ang said that he had brought up a number of times the suggestion to end San Miguel’s basketball operations, but ended up walking back his stance.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi ho ako nagbibiro, ang laki ng ginagastos dyan,” Ang said (h/t Spin.ph). “Kaya lang, ang sabi ng mga kasamahan ko sa trabaho, that is the only entertainment of our countrymen.
“Ang mga kababayan natin, yan lang daw ang libangan nila. Kapag tinigil ko yan, baka magalit sila. Ayaw ko namang magalit sila,” Ang added.
For Ang, it always goes back to what satisfies Philippine basketball fans.
“Nirekomenda ko ‘yan several times. Laging sagot lang sa akin ng ating marketing managers, operations managers, ‘Boss, makakatipid tayo n’yan, pero magagalit ang taong bayan.”
Even so, hearing someone of Ang’s stature touch on the notion of terminating San Miguel’s PBA teams slaps everyone, from the PBA down to the humblest of SMC teams supporters, a harsh reality check.
All of a sudden, the Never Say Die battle cry of the biggest draw in the history of Philippine basketball takes on a different meaning.