(STAR) BY NOLI CORTEZ - FROM now on, the pro league will scrutinize and put all future trades among its teams under the microscope.

This, according to Commissioner Chito Salud, will ensure "lopsided trades" are avoided and parity among the teams is ensured.

"Babantayan ko talaga lahat para makita kung ang mga benefits na makukuha ng mga teams would work both ways," Salud told Malaya yesterday. "It is the lack of parity among the teams which is precisely what we’re trying to avoid."

Salud also stressed his office would examine the equality of such deals and approve them if they pass scrutiny.

"All are subject to the judgment call of the commissioner and I intend to make that call judiciously," he said.

Some recent trades have raised eyebrows, prompting various quarters to broach the possibility of bringing back the old restricted trading list once used in the league. Under the RTL, only players deemed of equal value were traded. It was scrapped, however, due to some loopholes.

"That’s because teams can also replace a player whom they have previously put in the RTL by another player of a lesser caliber just before such a transaction," explained a team executive who requested anonymity. Salud dismissed the RTL, saying it is not part of the solution.

"Iba ang circumstances noon and even the RTL is something that has to be reviewed and revised from time to time," Salud explained.

"What we need is to study each trade on a case-to-case basis while closely monitoring such trades. Babantayan ko talaga, to avoid what we have called lopsided trades."

Another of Salud’s priorities, which is improved officiating through simple guidelines, was seen by the crowd during the Meralco-Ginebra game that kicked off the PBA’s 36th season last Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts won 73-72 in a game that featured only a total of 29 fouls despite the match’s tight, closely-fought characteristic watched by a crowd of over 14,200.

The number of fouls called was almost half of last season’s average and all because the referees, per Salud’s orders, called only hard and undeniable infractions.

The son of 1988-92 commissioner Rudy Salud, however, said it is still too early to tell whether his wish for more free-flowing games would be ensured.

"Wala pa ‘yan," he said. "Ang mga maiinit pang laban ang talagang test."

Pinoy bets will be fully equipped’ BY CHRISTINE MONCADA

ASIAN Games-bound Filipino athletes will be properly equipped for battle, according to Philippine Sports Commission Chairman Richie Garcia.

Garcia yesterday revealed the government sports agency has already spent some P10 million for equipment to be used by athletes in the Guangzhou Asian Games on Nov. 12-27.

Some of the equipment already procured will be used in bowling, cycling, dragon boat, shooting and taekwondo. All the needed equipment are expected to be delivered by the end of this month, according to Garcia.

The amount is on top of the P30 million earmarked by the PSC for the country’s preparation and actual participation in the quadrennial event.

"The equipment will be used not only in the Guangzhou Games but also in future international tournaments," Garcia said, "so it’s a good investment."

Starting this month, Garcia said the PSC will shell out additional funding to provide proper nutrition to Asiad-bound athletes.

"That’s an additional P10,500 per month per athlete," he added.

A total of 248 athletes from 30 sports will represent the country in the Asiad, but the delegation can be drastically reduced if the men’s and women’s dragon boat teams and the women’s basketball squad fail to meet the condition set by the Philippine Olympic Committee for their official inclusion in the team.

The dragon boat team, composed of 48 athletes, will have to hurdle a POC-supervised time trial on Oct. 11 at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.

The cagebelles’ inclusion hinges on two conditions: they have to rule the Southeast Asian Basketball Association women’s championship later this month and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has to convince Asiad organizers and the International Basketball Federation to postpone the drawing of lots.

The drawing of lots is set on Oct. 9 but the Seaba tilt, to be hosted by the country, is slated on Oct. 24-29.

Garcia refused to predict how the athletes would do in Guangzhou, saying: "I’ll be in Guangzhou but only as a representative of the government, saling-pusa lang kami."

Joey Romasanta, the country’s chief of mission, has boldly predicted in an earlier interview that Pinoy athletes would surpass the Philippines’ four gold, six silver and nine bronze medal haul in the 2006 Doha Asiad.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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