MANILA, March 22, 2006
(MALAYA) BY CHRISTINE MONCADA - PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee secretary-general Steve Hontiveros yesterday advised all parties concerned in the amateur basketball issue to stop from further muddling the controversy, saying the thing to do now is to wait for the International Basketball Federation to come up with a decision.

"We wait and let the FIBA decide," Hontiveros said, adding the POC is preparing a final report on what the basketball stakeholders have accomplished under the Memorandum of Understanding the POC signed with the FIBA last year.

The report will be forwarded to the FIBA before the month ends, according to Hontiveros.

Hontiveros wondered aloud "what the fuss is all about when in fact the POC has yet to submit the finished product of the basketball stakeholders–PBA, PBL, NCAA and UAAP–to the FIBA.

"We’re creating unnecessary noise when it’s all very simple. There’s the MOU, we followed it to the letter, and the POC is now preparing the final draft to be sent to the FIBA for its proper action.

"The problem here is that we’re dealing with a lot of ifs. Why not wait for the FIBA reaction on the stakeholders’ product first?" added Hontiveros.

The stakeholders, except for Basketball Association of the Philippines president Joey Lina, submitted a final copy of their proposed constitution and by-laws to the POC last week. Except for minor revisions, the POC approved the charter.

At the same time, the POC approved the application for membership of Pilipinas Basketball, the body the four stakeholders formed.

This, however, did not sit well with Lina who attended the first meetings of the stakeholders but later backed out when it became clear the rest of the stakeholders were working to create a new amateur cage body that will replace the BAP.

Lina had maintained the fastest way for the FIBA to lift the suspension of the Philippines in international basketball tournaments is for the POC to take the BAP back into its fold. The POC expelled the BAP from its roster last year when the BAP reneged on an agreement concerning the formation of national teams for international events. In response, the FIBA suspended Philippine basketball.

Lina had also claimed the BAP is still recognized by the FIBA, adding there is no way the international cage body would recognize Pilipinas Basketball.

The other day, Lina said the BAP will bring the fight to the International Court of Arbitration for Sports in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Let us do away with claims and counter-claims. The bottom line here is that we have the original MOU, under which Mr. Lina concurred when he started joining the stakehokders’ meetings.

"Majority of the stakeholders decided and submitted their recommendation to the POC which, in turn, will forward it to the FIBA. The only thing left to do is to wait for the FIBA reaction. And the right thing to do is to make your reaction from there, not before," he added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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