MANILA SEPTEMBER 29, 2006 (STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - There is no question Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. chairman Manny Pangilinan is the right man for the job as head of the newly-organized Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP).

With MVP at the helm, everyone is assured of a leader who has nothing in mind except the country’s interest in the sport. He has no hidden agenda. He couldn’t care less about the prestige or the perks that the position brings. He is an accomplished executive, a principled achiever and an inspiration to those who know of his successes in life.

The other day, MVP announced he is prepared to assume the position of SBP chairman and president in a concurrent capacity provided he has the full support of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Pilipinas Basketball (PB) – which are supposed to disintegrate upon the ascension of SBP – in getting a free hand to form his management team.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose Cojuangco Jr. welcomed the news of MVP’s decision. Cojuangco was previously reported to be wary of how SBP would evolve when he saw the proposed lineup of the 25-man Board of Trustees.

It was Cojuangco who instigated the move to expel the BAP from the POC General Assembly rolls as a National Sports Association because of mismanagement and incompetence. He was concerned that the same people who caused much embarrassment to the country with their basketball blunders are in the proposed SBP Board.

But when he found out MVP would take charge, Cojuangco gave his wholehearted support.

Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Noli Eala and Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidad both backed up MVP’s decision.

In Tokyo last month, BAP and PB officials agreed to a Sept. 30 deadline within which to submit the terms of a unified governing body to FIBA (Federation Internationale de Basketball) for recognition. FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann assured the officials he would lift the country’s suspension as soon as he receives the documents of the new organization.

The deadline is now one day away.

According to PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, MVP would’ve liked to beat the deadline and deliver a strong message to FIBA that Filipinos are true to their word. After all, the deadline was not imposed by FIBA. The BAP and BP officials, with POC first vice president Rep. Monico Puentevella and legal counsel Ding Tanjuatco present, set the deadline themselves.

While PB has thrown its full support for MVP to become chairman and president, the BAP faction has been unusually quiet about it.

BAP president Joey Lina was asked for his comment yesterday but there was no response.

Is the BAP holding back and rethinking its position of supporting SBP? Is the BAP hedging because some of its officials want to be assured of certain positions in SBP? Was the BAP sincere and selfless in offering to collapse itself and join SBP without bargaining or jockeying for concessions?

Lina is known to be decisive and patriotic but are there individuals in the BAP not dancing to his music?

When the agreement was forged in Tokyo, the country rejoiced because finally, a light at the end of the tunnel flickered to signal the imminent conclusion of a dark chapter in Philippine basketball history where leaders fought over turf at the sport’s expense.

MVP was eventually persuaded to join a three-man panel with Lina and PB president Bernie Atienza to formulate the blueprint that would lead the Philippines out of the basketball woods forever. He was the perfect choice because of his reputation for fairness, integrity and getting things done.

When the three-man panel’s task was finished, a source close to MVP said he was inclined to step back and let the others work out the details of implementation. He hesitated to take a more active role in SBP because of his multitude of commitments and responsibilities.

But as it became apparent that SBP needed someone to push it forward, MVP agreed to become chairman and president after much soul-searching. It was a decision based on love of country and a passion for the game.

Unfortunately, the self-imposed Sept. 30 deadline will not be met. There is still no recognition from the POC and no National Congress has been convened to ratify the acts of the interim Board. Neither can be done in a day.

Are there snags in the process of getting SBP off the ground? Are selfish motives hindering the progress of the effort to launch SBP? Are certain basketball officials not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of conceding turf for the greater good? Is there a deliberate attempt by certain quarters to led the deadline lapse?

Now that SBP is so close to becoming a reality and a White Knight has been found to lead the way to a bright new beginning for Philippine basketball, isn’t it time to forget personaly ambitions and move the country forward?

Old Rizal bears brunt of ‘Milenyo’ By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 09/29/2006

The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, which houses the training and living quarters of the national athletes, was not spared by Typhoon Milenyo which caused a Luzon-wide power failure and heavy damages to property yesterday.

Ritchie Garcia, a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, made a quick ocular inspection of the vast historic sports complex yesterday afternoon with fellow officials of the government sports agency.

They didn’t like what they saw.

"Malaki-laki ang damage. (The damage is quite heavy)," said Garcia, who was joined during the inspection by PSC executive director Cesar Pradas and administrative officer Dennis Rivera.

Garcia said the damages could amount to at least P3 million.

"Easy P3 million. It’s quite big," said Garcia although the official assessment of the damages will be done only on Monday, hopefully when the weather has improved.

The center roof of the badminton hall was ripped off, according to Garcia, along with some portions of the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, causing some flooding on the playing courts.

Also ripped off was a roof section of the PSC administration building’s fourth floor, leaving the boardroom soaked, but with very minimal damage to the interior.

Garcia also reported that one of the towers in the baseball stadium fell at the height of the typhoon.

"But overall they’re manageable. These things happen. We have to prioritize those concerning the athletes, like the badminton hall. The boardroom, we can manage without it," he said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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