Business top dog is newest, biggest Bulldog
By Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:35:00 07/07/2008
MANILA, Philippines—A big name is out to lend a big hand to an oft-overlooked school.
One of the country’s richest families was at ringside for a taste of UAAP hoop action, bringing along with it plans to beef up a school’s education and sports programs.
Wearing a yellow collared shirt, Hans Sy inconspicuously watched from the gallery as the National University battled the University of the Philippines in the 71st UAAP men’s basketball competition Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Sy, the president of SM Prime Holdings Inc., graced the game to get a feel of the UAAP and see how his family can help improve NU’s stock.
“Sports and education go hand in hand,” said Sy just a month after his father and mall magnate Henry Sy Sr.—the Philippines’ second richest individual with an estimated wealth of $3.9 billion—bought majority of the shares of NU.
“We’re still very new. We’re observing first, then we’ll make our move.”
The Sys, who also own a minority share at Far Eastern University, aim to improve NU’s quality of education, develop its sports program and rebuild school infrastructure.
“Our priority is really education for the people,” said Sy.
Although the NU Bulldogs dropped their first game against the UP Maroons, 86-72, Sy hardly looked disheartened and reiterated his family’s steadfast commitment.
“We’re supporting all the sports in the UAAP,” said Sy. “It just so happens that basketball started, so we’re here.”
“NU has a very rich history,” added Sy. “It’s not small. It just didn’t grow. And we intend to put it back as one of the top universities.”