Chito Narvasa won’t be back as commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in Season 43.
Citing loss of trust and confidence, incoming board chairman Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX announced on Thursday that Narvasa’s term will not be renewed for Season 43 and the board has appointed Rickie Santos as officer in charge (OIC).
After a lengthy special meeting at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City attended by representatives from seven teams, Fernandez said the majority of the board agreed not to renew Narvasa’s term and appoint Santos as OIC as the league searches for its new commissioner.
“We agreed to file a board resolution stating that the board of governors will no longer support and endorse a renewal of the term of PBA Commissioner Andres Y. Narvasa at the end of the 42nd season,” said Fernandez after emerging from the meeting.
“We also resolved to ensure the continuity of the PBA for the meantime, we appointed Rickie Santos as OIC,” he added.
The seven team governors who were present in the special board meeting were Raymond Zorilla of Phoenix, Dicky Bachmann of Alaska, Patrick Gregorio of TNT, Mamerto Mondragon of Rain or Shine, Siliman Sy of Blackwater, Al Panlilio of Meralco and Fernandez.
“It is already approved because we’re majority. It is seven of us,” Fernandez explained.
Absent were representatives from GlobalPort, Kia and the San Miguel Corporation bloc (San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Star).
Fernandez clarified that Narvasa was not expelled from his post, as it will take two-third votes of the board, or eight to be exact, for a commissioner to be ousted.
“We are not expelling Narvasa. We are just letting his term expire because we know 2/3 votes are needed to expel him, but it also needs eight votes or also 2/3 to renew his contract. The position is vacant if we can’t get a 2/3 vote, so we also need a 2/3 vote or eight votes to name a new commissioner,” said Fernandez.
The NLEX top official added said the controversial trade between Kia and San Miguel Beer that involved No. 1 pick Christian Standhardinger, has nothing to do with the board’s decision.
“Simple loss of confidence, including his performance, and other accumulated issues. The trade has nothing to do with that anymore,” he said.
Narvasa approved last week the revised trade between the Picanto and the Beermen where the former allowed Standhardinger to go to San Miguel in exchange for bench players Jay-R Reyes, Ronald Tubid, Rashawn McCarthy and its 2019 first round pick.
Fernandez said they tried their best to inform the five other teams about the meeting but their calls were not answered.
The board will have their annual planning on November 14 in Los Angeles, California and Fernandez suggested that it would be best for Narvasa not to come “out of delicadeza.”
Narvasa, in a separate news conference said that he would not vacate his post.
“I’m fighting for the office of commissioner for now. I can resign of course but only if majority of the league membership says so,” he told reporters. “We have rules in the PBA and we should not be held hostage to the whims and caprices of a few who just called for my removal because they cannot get what they want.”
He also criticized the seven PBA team governors for not following the league’s constitution and by-laws concerning his term.
“It (Office of the Commissioner) is not about one man, but also the whole league. Whether it’s me or anyone who becomes commissioner, the Commissioner’s Office should remain free to act in the best interests of the majority, including the fans,” Narvasa added.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer team governor Robert Non expressed his support to Narvasa.
“They cannot just act on a whim. What they are doing is not in accordance with our by-laws and constitution. All five teams – San Miguel, Ginebra, Star, Kia and Globalport – stand behind Commissioner Narvasa. He enjoys our full support and we have prevailed upon him to stay and do what is right,” said Non in a statement.
Non said such move by disgruntled members of the PBA board led by Talk and Text is unauthorized and not binding under the league’s by-laws and constitution.
“These officials do not constitute the majority needed to remove or appoint the commissioner and thereafter, make any changes in the PBA structure,” Non added.