MANILA, December 28, 2005 
(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - In recognition of the heroes and heels of Philippine basketball, we hereby announce this year’s inductees into the Halls of Fame and Shame. Hall Of Fame • Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Noli Eala. For bringing the pro league back on its feet. Now in its 31st season, the PBA is stronger than ever. Eala’s diplomacy, creative mind and unflinching dedication have gained for him the respect of the Board of Governors, players and fans.

• Mark Magsumbol. For his selection to play in the American Basketball Association (ABA) club San Jose Skyrockets. Magsumbol, 25, is a journeyman player who has plied his trade in the Philippine Basketball League, National Basketball Conference and the Cebu Basketball Federation.

He has never applied for the PBA draft despite graduating from St. Benilde in 2001. Without a playing contract, he showed up for the Skyrockets tryouts at the PhilSports Arena and got the nod of owner Kazumi Hasegawa and coach Marc Joffe. Magsumbol has been guaranteed a $1,200 monthly contract with living expenses and is expected to join the ABA team early next month.

• Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws. For capturing the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) senior men’s basketball championship at La Salle’s expense this year. The Tamaraws bowed to La Salle in a painful finals loss last season. Arwind Santos withheld his application to the PBA draft for a chance at redemption and it was worth the wait. With La Salle’s surrender of the 2004 championship after revealing the presence of two academically ineligible players, FEU now has rightful claim to a Grand Slam. The Tamaraws won in 2003 to initiate the hattrick.

• Siot Tanquingcen. For coaching Barangay Ginebra to two of three PBA titles last season. The former University of Santo Tomas guard never imagined to be a champion coach when he apprenticed under Ron Jacobs and Joseph Uichico on the San Miguel Beer bench. The shy, soft-spoken Tanquingcen succeeded Allan Caidic as Ginebra coach and swore he never aspired for the job. He was named the PBA’s Coach of the Year in 2004-05 for his feat of piloting the Kings to back-to-back crowns.

• National team. For bringing back the Philippines’ glory days in international hoops. Coach Chot Reyes got the team off to a strong start by whipping Iran twice in exhibition games and never giving up against the Sydney Kings in another pair of friendlies. Then, the national squad had a creditable showing in the FIBA (Federation Internationale de Basketball)-Asia Champions Cup before seeing action in Las Vegas, Taipei and Brunei. Capping the team’s international campaign was its victory at the Sultan’s Cup in Brunei. Hall Of Shame • Graham Lim. For stubbornly refusing to give up his position as Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) secretary-general. Under his stewardship, the BAP has brought shame to the Philippines. For instance, in the eight-nation Stankovic Cup in Taipei last year, the Philippines was the only winless entry and lost by an average margin of 36.6 points. At the Jones Cup that same year, the BAP sanctioned a hapless team to play under coach Dong Vergeire. The squad lost seven games by an average margin of 21.4 points and only defeated a youth team from Germany. The Philippines has failed to qualify for the quarterfinals in the FIBA-Asia Championships the last 10 years. Lim’s deportation has been ordered by Malacañang. Although Lim has lost the moral right to call the shots in the BAP, his deportation may be too harsh. He was born here, is married to a Filipina and has no home abroad. If Lim is deported, where will he go? For humanitarian reasons, his deportation should be reconsidered. But there’s no question that he has outlived his usefulness as BAP secretary-general. For that matter, the BAP has outlived its usefulness, too.

• Scalpers. For victimizing basketball fans who pay through the nose just to patronize the sport they love. There are laws prohibiting the black marketing of tickets for entertainment shows. But whenever La Salle and Ateneo play, expect the scalpers to make a killing.

• La Salle. For allowing two academically ineligible players to suit up for the Archers team that won the 2004 UAAP senior men’s crown. The players were recruited in 2003 from Jose Rizal University. Because of the scandal, La Salle announced the resignations of the university registrar, the director of sports development, the Archers team manager and coach Franz Pumaren. Despite the embarrassment, La Salle officials consoled themselves with the fact that they voluntarily disclosed the eligibility violations and stressed there was no complicity involving the school.

• Patrick Baumann. For showing no sympathy to millions of Filipinos by depriving them of enjoying the basketball competitions at the recent Southeast Asian Games. The FIBA secretary-general could’ve bent a little backwards and given the Philippines a conditional reprieve from suspension to allow the games to be played. But the Swiss lawyer was unforgiving.

• Mel Nazares. For bringing in a lowly Italian team to play a "pocket" tournament against the Philippines and Iran. The Milan-based Filipino assured the PBA of a quality Italian squad. But in an exhibition game, Italy was massacred by Cebuana Lhuillier by 64 and could only score three points in a quarter. PBA commissioner Eala sent the team home and the town mayor of Corbetta–where the Italians are from–was apologetic. In a letter to Eala, the mayor said he would assemble a competitive team to return at no expense to the PBA. There was no mention of when the team would come. Nazares, who arranged the Centennial team’s successful tour of Milan in 2002, promised he would make up for the faux pas.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved