The PBA crisis

  • Written by Lito Cinco
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 386

My five cents’ worth

WHEN  the news first broke out that Kia Motors will trade their expected  first round draft pick Fil-German Christian Standhardinger to powerhouse team San Miguel Corporation for three unheralded players, a lot of eyebrows were raised and a number of questions asked, number one question being why.

And when Narvasa  tried to explain  his side, supported by new team Kia manager  Joe Lipa,  the  rationalization resulted in more negative comments from basketball fans saying  it was not fair that  a team as strong as the  Beermen would become even stronger in the next season.

Personally, I  also could not understand  the explanation of Joe  when  he said  Kia  would like to play  an unconventional style of basketball without star players and instead make-do with hungry players.

After all, the essence of  the draft in the PBA was to correct imbalances and  move towards parity among the teams. This was the offshoot a long time ago  of the Crispa-Toyota  duel in  the early years of the PBA with all good players  from the amateur ranks  getting snaked by either of the two teams.

So  much so  that  there was even a ruling prohibiting two starting centers playing  for the same team with the likes of Mon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Abe King, and Manny Victorino among those  I remember being named, and  it seemed to  have worked as  other teams started to win  with better talents.

And for many basketball fans, this   is the crux of the matter in the present situation in the PBA.
Of course,  there were those who  said there was nothing with the trade  as it is the right of teams to trade their players and when  one talks of legalities, yes, teams do have that right.
And I will state my side on this, that for me, the league exists because of basketball fans and  that should be the bigger right, and yes, you can disagree with me.
And  that was  the tame part it turned out because what followed after the trade was consummated between the two teams as approved by PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa , was a storm of comments in the social media.
More criticisms than positive ones believe me, with Narvasa  in the center, and it was not long before the news broke out that the PBA Board, at least seven of them had decided not to renew  Narvasa’s contract.
This was in a face to face  meeting  between Narvasa and team representatives from the MVP Group , NLEX, TNT, and Meralco, together with the independent teams Alaska, Phoenix, Rain or Shine, and Blackwater.
The meeting was tense and  according to Quinito Henson, it ended up  with Narvasa leaving the venue without even eating what he ordered for lunch after he was told by the group that  they have lost confidence in Narvasa's management of the PBA as Commissioner.
Just as an aside, I  have worked  for a long time in the corporate world, mainly on HR work, and one of the basic jobs that faces HR practitioners is terminating people, under the labor code, when it comes to managerial employees, a company may end his employment  on this basis, loss of confidence. But of course, there should be something to base this on.
But since it was not revealed as to what  was the basis for the reason, Narvasa, the lawyer that he is, opposed the move saying it would have been acceptable  to him, having been a corporate guy too, to  accept  a decision of management, but questioned the process, claiming  that  he will not go  as he is fighting  for principles.
Among the names were  those of Robert Jaworski, Atoy Co, Joe Lipa, Ed Cordero, Chito Loyzaga, Joaqui Trillo, Paeng Nepomuceno, all with supporters and protesters on both sides.
And you know the name  that came to my mind, Jolly Gomez, the former PSC  commissioner who for me  meets the requirements for the position.
Number one of which is  to be able to stand up to the team owners, a management background including the marketing side, and the pedigree that  will merit respect  from the league and the fans. I am not his fan  but then I have  not worked in HR for nothing when it comes to choosing people for key positions, though I admit  it is too early  for this  as this as Narvasa remains the Commissioner.
This was followed by  a statement issued by the remaining  clubs allied with the SMB bloc  of San Miguel, Ginebra, and Purefoods-Star, and of course Kia Motors, plus Global Port, a 7 vs 5 match up between  the two groups.
It was  strong statement. too. including  describing the other group's decision as whimsical  and that it holds no water as replacing  the PBA Commissioner needs a 2/3 vote.
Bbut then if the decision is not to renew Narvasa's contract when it runs out, then the 2/3 vote does not apply I think and instead, it will boil down to a PBA board decision, where I believe in turn it is the majority decision that will prevail.
And if so, the MVP group has the edge in number.
This  situation for me in the PBA is one of the worst crisis for the league as there is now a definite division of the house and both on the offensive, and you know how it goes in the jungle, when elephants battle, the whole jungle trembles, and let us face it, the fight is between the SMC and the MVP groups.
Now how  they will be able to resolve  this without more secrets emerging in the open and that will hurt the PBA more, the better it will be.
Otherwise, are we seeing the end of the league, I certainly hope not.