CAGE CHIEFS CALL FOR END TO BAP ROW

MANILA, NOVEMBER 12, 2003 (STAR) The countryís top two basketball leaders joined hands yesterday in calling for a quick, peaceful and hopefully a permanent solution to all the problems hounding amateur basketball.

Commissioners Noli Eala of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and Chino Trinidad of the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) said the problem must be settled soon, considering that the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games is just around the corner.

The problem lies in the fact that two groups are claiming to be the legitimate basketball body in the country. Thereís the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) under Tiny Literal and the Basketball Association of the Philippines, Inc. (BAPI) under Nic Jorge.

The BAP is leaning on the recognition of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) while the BAPI is banking on a recent court order saying itís the rightful basketball body.

"I believe that these men are men of good purpose. But sacrifices have to be made beyond self interest. I hope that one day we can all really sit down together for the sake of basketball," said Eala during the PSA Forum at the Manila Pavilion.

Speaking as a lawyer, the PBA commissioner said itís quite understandable why the conflict is expected to drag on even after next monthís SEA Games where the Philippines is the defending champion.

"Itís really hard to settle issues like this one because both parties strongly believe that theyíre on the right side," said Eala, quite fortunate that the PBA is not involved in the forming and sending of national teams to the SEA Games.

All the members of the Vietnam-bound team come from the PBL, leaving Trinidad quite helpless and torn between the two warring factions.

"I wish they come to terms. Iisa lang naman ang intention nila: makabangon ang basketball sa Pilipinas," said Trinidad in the forum sponsored by Agfa, Red Bull and Pagcor.

"Ang ikinakatakot ko lang ay kung gaano katagal ang cycle na ito? Gaano katagal ito iikot? Basta kahit ano sana ang mangyari, huwag na galawin ang national team because these players have sacrificed a lot," said the youthful PBL chief.

"Thereís the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Basta ang Christmas wish ko lang ay magkaisa sila," he added.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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