Quietly, Digong allows PBA to resume

By Al S. Mendoza



THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will be back soon.

That’s a reason to rejoice.

What’s a country with its national pastime thrown deliberately in the backburner?

A mortal sin too difficult to redeem.

It’s like having a birthday party without a cake.

Or holding a graduation ceremony without a guest speaker.

Or seeing a couple getting married without wedding rings.

Yes, we have the pandemic since March 2020.

But that’s not a reason at all to freeze everything, no matter how deadly the coronavirus is.

There’s always newness to an obsolete, or the cell phone would not have been invented if the landline had not seen better days.

Look at America.

Resilient and defiant as always, it never surrendered to COVID-19.

And so, it had its four major games played in 2020: football, baseball, hockey and, yes, basketball through its iconic NBA.

It continues doing so up to now, the second year of the coronavirus curse.

Europe did not surrender, too.  It had its soccer 2020, conquering all obstacles, or risk seeing its soccer-crazy populace go into disastrous riots.

Man is an engineering marvel that God created to reign supreme over all matters, including crippling plagues—or  even wars for that matter.

That’s why there’s the vaccine to take care of the virus, and also the sane leaders (endangered species, though) to prevent World War III.

Now, in our country, the one entertainment fare that has provided everlasting joy to the masses is basketball aka the PBA.

Since its birth in 1975, the PBA, whose predecessor MICAA was also the dependent balm to sooth a nation in distress, has provided the detour to happiness when martial law was at its ruthless rampage.

Forty-six years later, the PBA is still alive and kicking, surviving the test of time.

Give credit to all the presidents that made sure the league won’t sink even when buffeted by stormy weather: Macoy, Tita Cory, Tabako, Erap, P-Noy and, now, Digong.

If I may say so, Macoy protecting the PBA’s health and future was a highlight of his otherwise unlamented reign of terror from 1972 to 1986.

Did Macoy not toss in prison many PBA players in the late 70’s for a “basketbrawl” that threatened the league’s very existence?

I was right there, covering the melee and following the jail-bound players to Camp Crame.

For once, Macoy listened to reason and immediately freed the hotheads, including Robert Jaworski, Atoy Co, Francis Arnaiz, Philip Cezar and many more from the loop’s superstar teams at that timez: Crispa and Toyota.

Warned sternly that a repeat of the melee would mean their prolonged stay behind bars, the players took heed and behaved thereafter.

Today, President Duterte had his turn at playing heroic, giving the green light for Sen. Bong Go to allow the PBA to resume practices on May 18 in preparation for the league reopening in June.

No Chief Executive would want to play villain and allow the PBA to close shop.  Not Digong.

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