MANILA, NOVEMBER 4, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - National Broadcasting Network Channel 4 said yesterday Summit Sports World, Inc. has reportedly signified its intention to honor its commitment to the government television network and avert legal tussle between the business partners following its unpaid financial obligations over the PBA games coverage.

NBN general manager Joey Isabelo told The STAR yesterday that lawyer ER Magpantay, counsel of the tv station’s partner-financier, called up to re-assure him of Summit Sports’ willingness to pay at least 50 percent of its obligations that racked up to P52 million on the PBA project.

"We’re optimistic that we’ll settle this problem. We expect Summit Sports officials to attend our board meeting on Friday and satisfy the board of their proposal," said Isabelo.

NBA 4 last week asked Summit Sports to pay at least half of what they owe the network or face legal action.

IBC-13, the other network which used to telecast the PBA games, pulled its resources out of the pro league over unpaid airtime dues last week, prompting its board, led by then members Philip Ella-Juico, Mel Robles and Ruben Carranza, to resign en masse.

The stoppage order has remained in effect since Malacañang has yet to resolve the intramurals within the IBC board of directors stemming from its problem over the PBA project.

Juico, also the former chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, has consistently objected to the contract with NBN and the side agreement with Summit Sports.

"We wanted to veer away from blocktiming because it runs counter to IBC’s corporate objective. Our goal is to make IBC competitive by entering into co-production agreement and not just providing airtime," said Juico.

NBN-4, which calls the shots on the coverage of the PBA games with IBC-13 just co-providing airtime, pledged to continue honoring its obligation with the PBA, its legion of fans, advertisers and viewers.

"With or without Summit Sports, we will keep on broadcasting the PBA games. We recognized we’re answerable to the PBA because we’re the one who entered into a deal with them. So, we’ll do anything to keep the coverage without interruption," said NBN chair Mia Concio.

She likewise made a firm commitment to honor their financial obligation to the PBA also with or without Summit Sports.

The NBN-IBC consortium got the rights to cover, broadcast and sell the PBA in a deal worth P200 million this year. Summit Sports came into the picture as it was taken in by the consortium to put up P90 million as bridge financer of the project.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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