MANILA, July 28, 2005 
(STAR) By Joey Villar - The Philippine Olympic Committee yesterday granted the Philippine Basketball Federation full recognition as the country’s governing body for basketball and turned down the Basketball Association of the Philippines’ appeal for reinstatement.

POC president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco Jr. said the PBF, whose recognition was affirmed by the General Assembly, must now work for its approval by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), which earlier suspended the country in disgust over the controversies that rocked RP basketball.

"It’s approved but it needs to get recognition from their International Federation as soon as possible," said Cojuangco.

Moying Martelino, who is the president and secretary-general of the PBF, said the association will try to gain approval of the FIBA-International as soon as possible to put the country’s basketball program back on track.

"With this acceptance, we can now move on and work for FIBA acceptance," said the 70-year-old Martelino, former secretary-general of BAP in the 80s and FIBA-Asia, formerly Asian Basketball Confederation, in the 90s.

"We have a very good chance of attaining this because there are people from FIBA we know in that past whom I know would listen to our explanation," he added.

FIBA-International is currently headed by Carl Ching Menky, who was a former president of ABC while FIBA-Asia is led by president Shiek Saud Ali Al-Thani, formerly secretary-general of the Olympic Committee of Qatar where Martelino once worked as sports consultant in the early 90s.

Martelino said he would immediately communicate with FIBA-International to plead PBF’s case.

"We’ll prepare a letter and attach everything there like our constitution and by-laws and the POC recognition," he said.

"We’ll even personally go there to explain our case if we have to," he added, referring to FIBA-International’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A total of 36 national sport association (NSA) heads or their representatives attended the meeting and granted recognition to the PBF as regular voting member of the POC.

Martelino said it was Bacolod Representative, weightlifting chief and Membership Committee chair Monico Puentevella who recommended that the PBF be accepted as a regular member.

The PBF was formed to take the place of the BAP, which was recently expelled by the POC through the votes of 33 of its 39 members that included International Olympic Committee representative to RP Frank Elizalde.

The Philippine Sports Commission under chairman William "Butch" Ramirez has also withdrawn its recognition of the BAP, which can no longer draw any financial assistance from the government sports agency.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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