MANILA, MAY 27, 2006 (STAR) By Joaquin Henson - A long-term vision for the development of Philippine basketball will be a key discussion item in the agenda of the first hoop stakeholders summit at the Pearl Manila Hotel in Ermita today.

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are pooling their resources to stage the landmark whole-day convention as a major step in solidifying the country’s cage foundations.

Over 30 leagues and associations will be represented in the whole-day summit where PBA commissioner Noli Eala is expected to elaborate on the Canadian basketball development model with the objective of transforming the national team into a world power by 2020.

"It’s a model we can study and maybe, apply," said Eala. "Canada’s problems are similar to ours. There is a need for a visionary leadership and to unify Canada’s various basketball associations. While the target is 2020, the plan calls for certain goals in 2008, including the unification of the basketball community and laying out the infrastructure for development."

The model was formulated by Digby Leigh, vice president of Canadian basketball and chairman of the strategic planning task force.

A manifesto appealing to the Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) to lift the country’s suspension will also be proposed during the summit. The manifesto will deliver a strong message to FIBA that the major stakeholders are united in moving forward.

Representatives from leagues and associations in Bacolod, Cebu, Baguio, Tarlac, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Bicol and Davao confirmed their attendance. Also expected to join are representatives from the Tiong Lian league of Chinese high schools, the National Basketball Conference, the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, the Colleges and Universities Sports Association and the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities.

Officials of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) were not invited by organizers because according to Eala, "the summit is intended to provide solutions and become a forum of ideas in basketball, not to be a venue for controversy or intrigue."

The BAP was expelled by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) General Assembly as the National Sports Association (NSA) for basketball last year but continues to be recognized by FIBA as its country affiliate. The ambiguity has led to the country’s suspension by FIBA.

POC president Jose Cojuangco, Jr. will deliver the keynote address and UAAP’s Jun-Jun Capistrano of Ateneo the opening remarks in the summit. NCAA’s Paul Supan of Jose Rizal will be the moderator.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved