PBA HOLDS KEY IN FATE OF SUPERBODY

MANILA, March 19, 2004  (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - The second round of talks in the proposed creation of a Philippine basketball superbody is set today with key players hoping the Philippine Basketball Association would join the super league.

However, PBA board chairman Buddy Encarnado has maintained that the pro league would go over the framework of the organization first before deciding on whether to join it or not.

PBL commissioner Chino Trinidad told The STAR he would appeal to the PBA to join the superbody, since the proposed plan wouldn’t push through without the country’s premier league.

"With due respect to the other leagues, the PBA would be the key component in building this association. Kapag wala sila, baka hindi na matuloy ito. Kaya makikiusap ako sa kanila to stay with us," said Trinidad.

"There’s no voice in Philippine basketball as loud as theirs. The PBA is an established league, which has survived the tests of time. Everyone looks up to them. If they decide to go in, I’m sure everyone will follow suit," Trinidad added.

Trinidad said the PBL is keen on joining the superbody not for the interest of the league but for the country.

"We don’t want to play politics, too. Kung sino ang gustong tumulong sa basketball, doon kami. We’re not for Graham Lim nor Nic Jorge. Gusto namin umusad na ang Philippine basketball," said Trinidad.

The PBA board has raised that concern that they may only give recongition to individuals if they join the superbody. "If we join the superbody, it must be based on the principles and objectives of the organization," said PBA commissioner Noli Eala.

But what if the superbody is eventually formed but national and the international basketball federations wouldn’t give it due recognition?

"Basta kami gumawa ng paraan para maiayos ang Philippine basketball. We made effort to put sanity in the sport. Kung hindi nila tanggapin wala na kaming magagawa. Let history judge us," said Trinidad.

In today’s meeting, leaders from the NCRAA and the UCAA are reportedly joining the group that held its first round of talks two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer, saving its best for last, unraveled big runs in the fourth quarter to stay unbeaten in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference eliminations with a 100-73 whipping of Coca-Cola in a road game at the Lamberto Macias Sports Center in Dumaguete City last night.

The Beermen stepped up their game in the playoff period, breaking away from a close 63-58 count at the end of the third quarter for the emphatic win that raised their league-leading win-loss record to 5-0.

The Tigers, missing the services of injured mainstays Rudy Hatfield and Poch Juinio, suffered their second loss against three wins.

Despite a crippled lineup, the Tigers put up a good challenge early on, taking the first quarter at 22-21 before falling behind by four, 36-40, at the half.

And after San Miguel erected its biggest margin of eight points, 46-38, in the third quarter, Coca-Cola went on a run behind the exploits of Johnny Abarrientos and Mark Sanford to grab the lead at 47-46.

But the Beermen just proved to have so much more power and energy they went for the kills as the injury-plagued Tigers tapered off in the final period.

FedEx finally plays with a new import in Mike Maddox while Red Bull Barako may go out importless versus separate rivals in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference at the Ynares Sports Center tomorrow.

FedEx introduces Maddox, a former Georgia Tech mainstay, against Shell while Red Bull Barako may play with an all-Filipino crew against Barangay Ginebra.

The Thunder have become importless as Doug Wrenn left in haste after sustaining an injury in his first game in the local pro league versus the San Miguel Beermen last Sunday.

"Dati na pa lang may tama sa paa na hindi namin alam. Nasaktan in his first game at umuwi na kaagad," said Red Bull Barako team manager Tony Chua of Wrenn.

"Naghahanap pa kami ng kapalit kaya we might play without an import Saturday," Chua added.

Red Bull Barako actually has been negotiating with former import Julius Nwosu. However, the Nigerian player can’t fly immediately since he has yet to finish his stint in the Lebanon league.

Nwosu and Sean Lampley, who replaced Tony Lang in the finals, teamed up to lead the Thunder in the Commissioner’s Cup championship two years ago.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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