By the time this issue hits the streets, The Philippine Basketball Association Board of Governors and the league’s management committee are meeting in faraway Los Angeles in California to decide, among others, the fate of its two-year commissioner Chito Narvasa. Or, perhaps the future of the Philippines’ and Asia’s first professional league itself.
Millions of PBA fans could be spending sleepless nights thinking of the future of an institution that has been one of the few sources of their happiness in term of providing them with cheap sports and entertainment shows the past four decades or so
As has been reported widely last week, Narvasa, a scion of a family of lawyers, has lost the trust and confidence of seven board members who are opposed to the extension of his term, which ends at the end of the league’s 42nd season. The group of seven, headed by Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX has even asked for his resignation and as, in fact, appointed an OIC to run the affairs of the pro-league until such time that a new commissioner shall have been named.
Besides Fernandez, others in the group of seven are representative of Talk N’ Text and Meralco, which. Like NLEX are owned by the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) corporate group, and independent franchises Rain Or Shine, Phoenix, Blackwater and Alaska. Five governors are in favor of retaining Narvasa, headed Robert Non of San Miguel Corp. franchise, sister teams Barangay Ginebra and Star and two independent teams GlobalPort and Kia. What triggered the division was Narvasa’s approval of a trade between San Miguel and Kia awarding talented Fil-German rookie Christian Standhardinger to the Beermen.
Members of the board, along with selected members of media left last Friday and probably resting from the long trip for what is expected a tense and emotional confrontation between the outgoing commissioner and his detractors. Speculations are ripe that to avoid further dividing the house Narvasa might voluntarily resign as what his detractors wanted. True, the group of seven’s demand not to renew Narvasa’s contract was devoid of technical and legal requirements like the required 2/3 votes of eight members to oust a commissioner but he fact that a majority of seven board members had already expressed their desire for his ouster as against a minority of five only means he is, indeed, already unwanted.
And that might force Narvasa to ceased relations with the league he had served for two years, many PBA followers argued. “Hindi naman siguro itataya ni commissioner ang pride n’ya bilang isang iginagalang na miyembro ng legal profession para kumapit tuko sa kanyang kasalukuyang posisyon,” one such fan said. “May delikadesa naman siya, ‘no? He doesn’t need that job, in the first place.”
To those who’ve been asking yours truly why the PBA has been holding its annual gathering in foreign countries lately, the practice actually started during former commissioner Noli Eala’s watch in 2005. Meaning this is the 12th straight year that the annual gathering will be held abroad. Countries the PBA had previously visited for the purpose were Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Spain during the 2014 FIBA World Cup participated in by the Philippines.
The questions being asked now are: Will the seven governors continue to press for his removal? And will there be compromises as to avoid rocking the boat further and save the league, which for the past 43 straight years has been providing inexpensive sports and entertainment shows to many of the Filipinos, from further damage?
In case those concerned do not realize it, the present situation is causing serious apprehension among the league’s millions of followers. The feeling among them is sadness because the feud within the Board has been made public, causing grave disenchantment among the PBA’s multitude of fans. The disunity has put the in jeopardy the future of the PBA, which is a source of livelihood for thousands of players, team staffers and even league employees.
The future of the PBA hangs in the air in LA depending on how the governors will respond in resolving issues at the Board level. It won’t be easy to agree on a compromise or settlement, everybody knows that. A lot of pride needs to be swallowed and sacrificed all in the preservation of an institution that has been part of the family lives of Filipino families for more than four decades. All is not lost yet. Several options are there to be tapped. Hopefully they will.