MANILA, March 17, 2006
(BULLETIN) By nick giongco - Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco yesterday expressed optimism that the World Basketball Federation (FIBA) will approve the proposed constitution and by-laws of Pilipinas Basketball, the new body tapped to replace the expelled Basketball Association of the Philippines.

Cojuangco said the charter, save for minor changes, is on its way to FIBA’s Geneva headquarters and would reach the desk of FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann Friday morning (Swiss time) at the latest.

The POC chief is hopeful that FIBA will act favorably and recognize the country’s new governing body that would pave the way for the country’s readmission to the world basketball community.

"I don’t know of any reason why the FIBA will reject this application," said Cojuangco. "All the requirements have been met as far as the MoU (memorandum of agreement) is concerned."

The MOA, entered into by POC and FIBA last year, calls for the country’s basketball stakeholders to come up with a new body that would represent the Philippines in the world federation.

Baumann named five stakeholders, namely: the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Philippine Basketball League (PBL), Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and BAP president Joey Lina.

Except for Lina, all stakeholders gave their full backing to the new charter that was approved by the POC with some modifications.

"A few suggestions have been made to strengthen the membership provisions to allow more legitimate basketball organizations to become members in the near future. These have been forwarded to the founding stakeholders and verbal assurances have been given that these principles would be adhered to," said Mark Joseph, a member of the committee that studied the proposed charter.

Cojuangco is hoping to facilitate the Philippines’ recognition by FIBA in time for the Asian Games late this year in Doha, Qatar.

Lina, who had batted for BAP’s retention as the country’s governing body, does not share Cojuangco’s optimism, likening Pilipinas Basketball to the defunct Philippine Basketball Federation headed by Moying Martelino.

Lina originally participated in the talks mandated by the MOA, but backed out over major differences.

Still, Cojuangco believes the FIBA will not turn a blind eye on the POC’s sincere efforts to settle the problem.

The FIBA continues to recognize the BAP despite the fact that it has been expelled by the POC.

National Caddies Open Golf Tournament spacer Balasabas keeps 4-shot lead

By clyde mariano

CANLUBANG — Jessie Balasabas birdied the last two holes to salvage a two-over-par 74 and keep a four-stroke lead going into the final round of the 2006 National Caddies Open Golf Tournament.

"Mabuti na-birdie ko yung last two holes," said Balasabas, who had squandered his lead with a double bogey on the 11th hole and bogey on the 13th.

Balasabas now has a three-day aggregate of 218 which is two-over-par aggregate. He is four shots ahead of Rufino Bayron, who turned in similar 74 for 222 at the par 72, 6,872-yard Canlubang north course here.

The final 18 holes today will have Calatagan golfers defending their top three positions with Mhark Fernando at third with his 225 after shooting the day’s best score of 73.

Balasabas, Bayron and Fernando will play in the threesome championship flight at Wack Wack today to pick the successor of inaugural champion Jonel Ababa.

"Hindi steady yung putting ko," said Balasabas. "Okay na rin dahil na-maintain ko yung lead ko."

"Hindi ako nag-panic ng tumabla sa akin si Bayron. Nag-enjoy lang ako para walang pressure," added the 23-year-old Zamboanga native playing.

Balasabas regained the lead after Bayron bogeyed the 14th green when his drive went out-of bounds. He had another bogey on the 18th when his second shot found the sandtrap.

"Nasira yung laro ko ng ma bogey ko yung 14th hole," said the 24-year-old Bayron.

Bayron will be playing Wack Wack for the second time and he hopes that with this small edge in course familiarity, he will be able to overcome Balasabas who will be playing the par 72 East Course layout for the first time.

Balasabas missed the chance to play at Wack Wack last year when he was eliminated in the third round.

"Five over is good enough to win the title" said Balasbas when asked what he felt will be the winning score.

Paul Echavez limped home with a 77 at 235, 17 strokes behind the leader.

At 238 is Gary Sales, one shot ahead on Bonifacio Ramos and three strokes ahead of the 241 jointly submitted by Elizardo Canda, Dondon Osabal, Jeff Tumbaga and Jonathan Dionson.

Twenty-one golfers advanced to the final round with four golfers making the 244 borderline.

Ramel Glimada, one of seven entries from Apo in Davao, was disqualified for signing a wrong scorecard. Glimada put 3 instead of 4 on the 12th hole and 5 instead of 6 on the 17th.

The top three caddies after today’s final round will be trained by Philippine Amateur Golf Development for future international competitions.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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