MANILA, August 11, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - After the 2004-05 transition season, the Philippine Basketball Association holds its first regular season under its revised calendar starting with the import-laced tourney kicking off Oct. 2 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The PBA has drawn its 2005-06 calendar of activities, tentatively scheduling its annual All-Star festivities on Nov. 24-27 and the second conference starting the first Sunday of March.

Being considered to host the All-Star Week are Laoag, Palawan and Lucena. Cebu hosted last year’s All-Star event with the North squad whipping the South team.

Laoag City Mayor Mike Fariñas has verbally expressed their intention to host the event to PBA technical chief Perry Martinez. Quezon Governor Willie Enverga, meanwhile, made known their own intention to host the event to PBA commissioner Noli Eala.

PBA operations chief Rickie Santos said they’re still studying the requirements to be presented to the prospective host bidders.

Santos also said they’ve yet to finalize the schedule of games in the first conference which is to feature imports with a height ceiling of 6-foot-6.

The PBA scheduled the reinforced conference ahead of the All-Filipino tourney this season with the belief that the teams would have easier time recruiting talented imports during this period when the NBA and other major leagues abroad are off.

Despite the exit of Shell, the league is employing practically the same format as in the previous tourney. The nine teams figure in a double round-robin affair in the classification phase with the top two teams automatically advancing to the semifinals and the rest to clash in wildcard battles.

POC zeroes in on medals By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 08/11/2005

The Philippine Olympic Committee convenes in a special general assembly meeting Wednesday to discuss the pace of preparations of the various national sports associations (NSAs) in the country’s bid for a strong showing in the coming 23rd Southeast Asian Games.

POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. has called the meeting in response to the call of President Arroyo to make the country’s hosting and participation of the Games a big success.

Tapped by the President to assume the lead role in the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc) Monday, Cojuangco practically reorganized the committees involved to streamline operations as organizers begin to work in earnest to ensure the success of the Games slated Nov. 27 to Dec. 5 in Manila and three satellite venues in the provinces.

Cojuangco decided to make clusters of inter-related committees in the Philsoc in a meeting yesterday with other sports officials, including Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez and commissioner Richie Garcia.

He also called for a POC special general assembly meeting next week to discuss the extent of preparations and training of the national athletes.

It could well become a "medal-pledging" session to give the sports leaders the chance to determine whether the country has a realistic chance of taking a crack at the overall championship.

"The different NSAs will be assessed one by one. We’ll take a look at who’s behind in training and who’s behind in obtaining the training equipment. And they would be asked the level of performance we would expect from their athletes," said Cojuangco.

As it is, Cojuangco believes the athletes are committed in their lofty goal to bring honor to the country.

"Our home-court advantage is a big plus. When their countrymen start rooting for them, their will to win is raised some notches higher," he said.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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