PBA meet in L. A. to test league’s survival
By Al S. Mendoza
THE PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) is in trouble.
No, the country’s No. 1 sporting entertainment is not losing money.
On the contrary, it’s been earning to the tune of billions of pesos the last 10 years or so.
That is why since 2005, the PBA is holding its Planning Session yearly overseas.
So much money floods the cash registers of the league that its 12 governors can ill afford to go out of town just to map out plans for each coming season.
This year is no exception.
All 12 governors will assemble on Nov. 14 in Los Angeles, California, in a fresh bid to chart the 2018-2019 thrust of Asia’s first play-for-pay loop.
But this time, though, the PBA is a fractured organization, divided by self-interest and fractiousness that suddenly threatens the very existence of the league.
The cause of division is very elementary.
One faction wants Chito Narvasa out as PBA commissioner.
Another wing wants Narvasa retained for a third straight stint.
Funny, but the 7 of 12 governors—although they had the majority—couldn’t oust Narvasa.
The 7 governors were led by MVP’s Meralco, TNT Katropa and NLEx, who got support from Blackwater, Rain or Shine, Phoenix and Alaska.
The 5 others who opposed them were spearheaded by RSA’s teams San Miguel Beer, Ginebra and Star; they had support from Kia and GlobalPort.
MVP’s oust-Narvasa move was decisively deflected because the PBA law says a vote of 8 of the 12 governors is needed to remove Narvasa.
Narvasa, whose second term will end on Dec. 31, is clinging on to the law to salvage his post.
As a lawyer, Narvasa is obviously legalistic.
And why not?
If a lawyer has the law on his side, by all means, he will fight for it up to the last ends of the earth.
Trouble began when Narvasa approved a trade sending the 6-foot-8 Fil-German Christian Standhardinger from Kia to San Miguel Beer in exchange for SMB’s three benchwarmers and SMB’s 2019 first-round Draft pick.
The MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) group accused Narvasa of being biased for SMB, resulting in the 7 teams’ ill-fated plot to kick Narvasa out.
The side of RSA’s (Ramon S. Ang) SMB, Ginebra, Star, GlobalPort and Kia came to Narvasa’s rescue, thus blocking the 7 teams’ remove-Narvasa ploy.
The impasse will now put the 12 governors in Los Angeles in a bind.
The quickest way to resolve the issue, of course, is for Narvasa to resign.
If he does that, the 7 mob-minded governors complete a first coup ever in the 42-year history of the league.
It will also put to naught the wisdom behind the 5 governors’ bid to uphold the league’s rule of law.
Thus, Narvasa resigning would mean a vendetta-fueled victory by the 7 anti-Narvasa group.
But will Narvasa do it? Resign in L.A.?
Kuya Leonie might have the answer.
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