|The SBP called Danding Cojuangco a "titan" in local basketball. San Miguel Corporation (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--"Philippine basketball lost a titan."
The SBP's opening statement alone summarized how Danding Cojuangco will be dearly missed by the local hoops community.
Cojuangco succumbed to lung cancer on Tuesday night at age 85.
[Related Story: PBA, former PH team patron Danding Cojuangco passes away]
However, what he did to revolutionize the game will remain in the hearts of the Filipinos especially those who lived during the 1980's at the height of the NCC National Team's glory.
"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 in a statement on Wednesday.
Cojuangco's biggest contribution to Philippine basketball is the NCC-backed national team program, the last team to win the FIBA Asia championship in 1986.
The main players of the NCC squad, which also won the 1981 and 1985 Jones Cup titles, went on to carve successful playing and coaching careers in the pros.
The likes of Allan Caidic and Jong Uichico eventually became among the standards of how to be great as a player or a coach.
"Because of his investment with the NCC, Philippine basketball greatly benefited as it jump-started the careers of legendary PBA players and coaches as well," the SBP further stated.
The SBP emulated the NCC-style of buildup for its Gilas Pilipinas Men, even adding a cadets pool made up of amateur stars to train together with the PBA star-loaded first team.
The SBP also commended Cojuangco for turning his three teams in the PBA, San Miguel, Ginebra, and Magnolia, "a dominant force in Philippine basketball."
"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'," the SBP further said.
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