By Tito S. Talao
Los Angeles – Passionate pleas for answers and direct queries nearly bordering on veiled threats fell on deaf ears Friday evening here, even with the man in the middle of a smoldering PBA crisis, as no official word was issued on the eve of what was initially conceived as an ambitious four-day program and planning session for the 43-year-old pro league.
A 13-hour direct flight from Manila to Tom Bradley International Airport in downtown LA and a 30-minute bus transport yielded no authorized statement from PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa, San Miguel Beer governor Robert Non, Star Hotshots’ Rene Pardo, and alternate governors Ryan Gregorio of Meralco and Silliman Sy of Blackwater.
Gregorio and Sy are members of two ballclubs out of seven that are demanding the resignation of Narvasa while Non and Pardo, along with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s Alfrancis Chua, Kia governor Bobby Rosales and Globalport alternate governor Erick Arejola are backing the two-term commissioner.
Chua and Arejola, as with Dickie Bachmann of Alaska, took earlier flights and have yet to meet up with members of their respective blocs at press time. Skipping the trip altogether are incoming chairman Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX, Patrick Gregorio of TNT KaTropa, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix Fuel and Mert Mondragon of Rain or Shine.
Also maintaining his silence are PBA legal counsel Melvin Mendoza and deputy commissioner for basketball operations Rickie Santos, earlier appointed as officer-in-charge before a status quo agreement took effect.
While Narvasa, who was taken to task by the Group of Seven for approving a trade that allowed San Miguel to acquire the No. 1 pick from Kia and choose 6-foot-7 Fil-German forward Christian Standhardinger during the PBA Draft last month, has opted not to stir the pot further, several matters for future board discussion have nonetheless come to the fore in recent past, including proposals to revert to the lottery system in awarding the rights to the No. 1 pick, allowing sister ballclubs to trade directly instead of going through a third party serving as conduit, allowing PBA head coaches to simultaneously handle collegiate teams, and prohibiting the trading of first round picks in back-to-back seasons, a practice outlawed in the NBA.
There will also be a need to approve the budget for the 2018-19 season, agree on import ceiling and the three conference formats, and to recommit to the PBA’s involvement in the formation of the national team for FIBA tournaments and the coming Asian Games.
The possibility of the current PBA leadership stalemate going to arbitration with an independent third party was brought up to one of the governors but the idea was brushed aside, giving indication the governors will be looking to resolve the impasse on their own with another round of meetings in Manila.
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