For the majority of the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, one key figure was missing on the sidelines during the games of La Salle.
Ever since the Green Archers’ tough 88-89 loss to the UE Red Warriors back in September 14, 2019, the team’s main booster Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco stopped watching the games.
And it’s because he is taking a step back as the “team manager” of the Green Archers.
According to multiple sources closely monitoring the situation, Cojuangco — who has been in and out as main booster of the team for the last four decades — revealed during a dinner before Season 82 that this will be his final year as chief backer of the team.
Cojuangco did not give a reason for his decision. Still, this doesn’t mean that he will be separate from the team.
The 84-year-old businessman will still maintain the team’s dormitory, located in the middle of the De La Salle University-Taft campus.
“This will probably mean that we won’t be having a lot of overseas camps and tournaments next year,” said one of Tiebreaker Times’ sources, who requested anonymity.
Cojuangco has been helping out the Green Archers ever since La Salle was in the NCAA. After a brief hiatus in the early 90s, he returned and tapped Jong Uichico as the team’s head coach. It did not result in a championship, though.
He left when Franz Pumaren took charge of the program, then only returned in 2012. Amid a plethora of coaching changes, the Green Archers still managed to win two championships (Seasons 76 and 79).
In Season 82, La Salle could not crack the Final Four for the second straight year, finishing with a 7-7 slate.
One of Tiebreaker Times’ sources added that Raffy Villavicencio of FilOil/Petro Gazz looks to continue what Cojuangco will be leaving.
Besides this, Season 82 might also be the last year the ECJ trophy will be awarded to the champion of the tournament. The first two plums were awarded to Ateneo.
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