OCTOBER 12, 2006
(STAR) PLDT/Smart Communications chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, the chair of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said yesterday he regretted former Senator Joey Lina’s decision to resign from the BasketballAssociation of the Philippines but maintained that he still considered him as member of the three-man panel.

He also said Lina remains a trustee of SBP since these positions are not coterminous with his position as BAP president.

Pangilinan also expressed hopes that the panel’s work will be completed as scheduled since significant progress has been substantially, and independently, achieved in meeting the objectives of the recent Tokyo communiqué.

In a letter sent to FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann yesterday, the three-man panel said that once the Unity Congress is convened on Oct. 21 and the officers of SBP elected by the Board of Trustees on the same day, it will have completed its task of forging unity in Philippine basketball as set out in the Tokyo pact.

Thereafter, the SBP will seek the accreditation of the POC and officially seek FIBA’s consent to lift the suspension of the Philippines.

The panel is now in the final phase of its preparations for the holding of a Unity Congress where all of the BAP and PB members recognized as probationary SBP members would be invited.

During the Unity Congress, the panel also plans to hold an organizational meeting of the board of trustees of SBP to elect its officers, including the chairman, president, executive director, corporate secretary and treasurer.

To facilitate the conduct of an orderly and peaceful election of officers, the panel has consulted the BAP, PB and the other sectors involved in Philippine basketball to draw up a list of acceptable candidates. These include the country’s major stakeholders such as the PB, PBA, PBL, NCAA and the UAAP, which have all expressed support for the election of MVP as concurrent chairman and president of SBP. — Dante Navarro

Jinggoy to seek SBP post next By Nelson Beltran The Philippine Star 10/12/2006

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada accepted yesterday the presidency of the Basketball Association of the Philippines and expressed hopes to have a smooth working relationship with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) board of trustees, led by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, to hasten the country’s immediate return to international play.

Estrada also signified his intention to vie for the SBP presidency "not for myself but with due respect to the BAP which has been there for 70 years and is the more experienced organization (than Basketball Pilipinas)."

"In corporate practice, it’s not proper to have one person serving as chairman and president. We need check and balance," said Estrada.

He also said he looked forward to working in tandem with Pangilinan in an effort to get the nod of the Philippine Olympic Committee then hopefully the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

Estrada was voted by acclamation to assume the BAP presidency left vacant by the resignation of former Sen. Joey Lina. The exercise was done during the well-attended BAP national congress at the Aloha Hotel in Manila.

Among those in attendance were chairman Michelle Lhuillier, executive vice president Christian Tan, vice president for Luzon Wilson Young, vice president for the Visayas Yayoy Alcoseba, treasurer Tony Fabico, auditor Fritz Gaston and regional representatives from all over the country.

Lina’s move came on the heels of the alleged hard-line position of POC president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco who the former BAP chief said wanted "in no unmistakable terms" the exclusion of any BAP official from the unity ticket during the congress of the SBP on Oct. 21.

The list of officers is the final requirement the SBP has to provide to finally submit its application for membership in the POC and gain recognition as new member of FIBA, where the BAP remains as member with inactive status.

The only official acceptable to the POC so far is Pangilinan, who is in the unity ticket as chairman. He was also tapped to serve as president but the BAP indicated that it was nominating Lina as president.

"The POC leadership said it won’t accredit the SBP if there are certain personalities in the BAP, including myself, in the SBP unity ticket. So for the best interest of the country I’m resigning as BAP president," said Lina.

BAP secretary-general Graham Lim had asked Lina to reconsider but the latter stood firm on his decision, saying he would rather have the country’s immediate return to international play. Then the BAP membership voted Estrada as president by acclamation.

Even before he was formally elected president, Estrada started working for BAP’s benefit on Tuesday by requesting Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez to re-open the BAP offices at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. The two met during a Senate budget hearing, and the PSC chair promised to re-open it for the BAP today.

Pilipinas Basketball president Bernie Atienza, however, said Estrada’s ascent to the BAP throne, saying doesn’t make him an automatic member of the three-man panel.

"We still have to consult FIBA whether or not it’s applicable to replace a panel member now that the BAP has a new leader. Because when we named PLDT/Smart Communications chairman Manny V. Pangilinan as head of the panel, we sought approval from FIBA," said Atienza.

The Philippine Olympic Committee, on the other hand, said it has nothing to do with the BAP actions, having expelled the cage body from the POC family in the aftermath of the leadership crisis.

"The BAP is not connected with the POC anymore. What they do is their own concern," said POC spokesman Joey Romasanta.

"We only follow the POC. As far as the POC is concerned, there is no BAP. If Sen. Estrada can help basketball, then we welcome his election. But this is a purely POC affair," said Philippine sports commissioner Richie Garcia.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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