WHO? Moying, who recently went up to a safer place up there last week should be given a posthumous award by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). It's a pity why we should always pay tribute to important people in our lives when they are forever gone.
Some of my younger friends in the Philippine Olympic Committee asked me, "who is Moying?" I don't blame them because Moying started fading away when he started getting sick. And this scenario speaks the same of other standouts and officials in our Philippine sports history who eventually go to the Great Beyond. Moying was the powerful Secretary General of FIBA for several years during the time of his brother-in-law, the late Rep. Lito Puyat who was elected the first Filipino FIBA President. After retiring, he continued to serve Philippine basketball, eventually leading the fight to abolish the deteriorating BAP (Basketball Association of the Philippines), our original National Association then, which was headed at that time by the tandem of Go Teng Kok and Graham Lim.
This was the time we approached Manny V. Pangilinan for support to head the new Association to replace BAP. This was a tedious, long, and frustrating struggle, but eventually triumphed in the end after sometime. I know. I was Chairman then of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) and was requested by then POC President Peping Cojuangco together with our POC legal counsel the late lawyer Ding Tanquatco, to support and assist the new group in Tokyo to defend SBP's position against BAP as called for by FIBA, headed by the late energetic FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, and then Russian and FIBA President Boris Stanovich.
For three struggling days, we presented our side against BAP, composed of Lim, who was a close associate of Baumann then for some time and surprisingly, Cebu's Michel Lhuillier.a Emotions flew high. On our first day, the late Ding T challenged Lim for a fight during the meeting, after being rudely interrupted by the naughty Graham, who was eventually deported from our shores during the term of the late President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino. Yet, we went home disheartened with no resolution in sight. It was during this time that we convinced MVP to take the bull by the horn, and sports media started getting hot with Lim throwing everything in the sink, to frustrate MVP and the group.
One night after leaving Congress, on the way home, MVP called me frustrated and told me to quit this quest as this was not his cup of tea. He didn't need the job. Graham was quite a badass. But I appealed saying that Philippine basketball would be completely dead in case he gave up the fight. Next round was in Lausanne, Switzerland, at the FIBA headquarters and this time led by MVPs task force headed by the indefatigable Ricky Vargas, SBP President and Rep. Oscar Moreno, lawyer Marivic Añonuevo and yours truly representing the POC. But it did not end here.
We were invited again by FIBA for more talks in Seoul, South Korea, where MVP, through Ricky Vargas, invited Baumann to visit Manila with an offer to host the next Asian Basketball Conference. At last, Baumann acceded and after being fetched in the airport under the ramp of the parked plane with a limousine and welcomed in the Dusit Hotel with a standing room and a crowd of basketball fanatics, eventually gave in and the rest is history. Moying, who had so many friends in FIBA then, was with us all the way until the SBP finally got its official recognition and finally accepted by FIBA.
In hindsight, MVP also personally met the FIBA bigwigs during the FIBA ABC Cup in Fukushima, Japan, with Vargas, Al Panlilio, and me in a small car to court them and did the same in Guangzhou, China, during the Asian Games. Fortunately, by not giving up, MVP became a Director of the Executive Board of FIBA today. Who said it was easy? Godspeed Moying. Job well done.