OCTOBER 29, 2006
(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Go Teng Kok admitted the other day he accompanied Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) secretary-general Graham Lim to meet Sen. Jinggoy Estrada in his office off Roxas Boulevard two weeks ago but said it had nothing to do with a plot to reinstate the BAP as a member of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

Go denied reports that he met Estrada twice to map out a plan for the BAPís reinstatement.

"Graham asked me to join him in the meeting with Sen. Estrada," related Go. "I only went because Sen. Estrada wanted to talk to me. We met for about five minutes. He offered to help in solving our basketball problem and I promised to back him up all the way. I explained to him that since the BAP is still recognized by FIBA (Federation Internationale de Basketball), it would be easier to just reinstate the BAP but I told him itís too late for that. Still, I mentioned that nothing is impossible. I advised him to talk to (POC president) Mr. (Jose) Cojuangco to clear up the issue of how he could be involved in solving the problem."

Go said he never instigated a signature campaign among POC members to reinstate the BAP.

"There is no such thing," he said. "I know Graham has verbally asked some POC members for support to reinstate the BAP but heís doing it on a personal basis. I have nothing to do with that because for as long as I am Mr. Cojuangcoís special assistant in the POC, I will never go against him."

Reports of Goís alleged involvement in plotting for the BAPís reinstatement triggered a POC executive board resolution designating POC chairman Robert Aventajado and International Olympic Committee (IOC) representative Frank Elizalde to clarify the issue with the controversial PATAFA head.

Aventajado conferred with Go in a breakfast meeting last Thursday and it appears the issue has been settled.

Go said judging from his meeting with Aventajado, there is neither basis nor interest to investigate him.

POC spokesman Joey Romasanta told The STAR last Friday that Aventajado and Elizalde were assigned to clarify the issue with Go, not to conduct an investigation. Romasanta said Go has not resigned from his POC positions and will leave today to represent the POC in a three-day Sports For All conference in Cuba.

Go disclosed that before the Tokyo conference with FIBA officials, he met with Aventajado and Lim to broker a compromise where the BAP would no longer challenge its POC expulsion, Lim would take a leave of absence and Joey Lina would become president of the new, unified basketball organization.

Go said Peter Gaisano was even in the meeting briefly because Aventajado asked for his advice on how to proceed in organizing the Philippine Olympic Festival in Cebu.

The compromise, however, became academic when Lina resigned as BAP president and Philippine Long Distance Tel. Co. chairman Manny Pangilinan offered to assume the chairmanship and presidency of the Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP), the organization that emerged from the merger of the BAP and Pilipinas Basketball (PB).

Go said he has done nothing wrong against the POC and sees no reason why he should clear his name. He lashed out at certain POC executive board members for sowing intrigue in trying to smear his name.

"I challenge (POC first vice president) Congressman (Monico) Puentevella to call for an inquiry to look into rumors that I am supposed to be involved in human smuggling with Graham," said Go. "I have nothing to hide. Iíve been accused of being a kidnapper and a drug pusher before but those accusations are baseless."

On the SBP, Romasanta said he was informed that the unity congress was postponed to Nov. 11 for Estrada to attend since the senator is out of the country until Monday.

Romasanta said it is unfortunate that PB president Bernie Atienza has been the target of unfair black propaganda and suspected it was the handiwork of a BAP official.

"Itís not true what theyíre saying about Bernie," said Romasanta shortly before leaving for Kuala Lumpur last Friday morning. "As for the BAP, theyíre dreaming if they think that during the unity congress, they can vote in behalf of the 66 so-called leagues and associations they claim to be affiliates. Those leagues and associations are still undergoing validation. Besides, it is the interim Board of Trustees that will elect the officers of the SBP."

Romasanta confirmed talks within the SBP that Estrada may be elected chairman and Pangilinan, president, by acclamation during the unity congress.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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