By REY C. LACHICA
Despite the bickering of the two giants – the MVP Group on one side and San Miguel Corporation on the other side – a team owner yesterday believes the league will still survive the storm spawned by a lopsided deal.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the team owner said the “word war” will still benefit the league in the end, adding that it’s important for a big organization like the PBA to undergo “cleansing.”
After the “cleansing,” he expects the league to be more vigor and dynamic.
“Pag-uusapan pa rin naman ng mga tao ang liga, but it is important that members of the PBA Board will come up with a win-win solution,” the team owner said. “Kailangan din kasi ng liga ang cleansing.”
“Both groups are using league rules and policies to articulate their sentiments, so for the sake of PBA fans and for the gate records posted just recently not to go down the drain, they have to come up with a quick solution to break this impasse,” he added.
Trouble started when the MVP group – Talk ’N Text, Meralco and NLEX – along with Alaska, Phoenix, Blackwater and Rain or Shine agreed in an emergency meeting last Thursday not to renew the contract of Commissioner Chito Narvasa for what they termed as “loss of confidence.”
“It’s a simple loss of confidence,” said incoming PBA Board Chairman Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX, who presided over the meeting.
They also installed Deputy Commissioner Rickie Santos as officer-in-charge.
The other group, through San Miguel Beer governor Robert Non, did not take the action sitting down, saying the meeting was unauthorized and illegal.
Non also stressed the move to remove Narvasa as commissioner was not right under the league’s by-law and constitution.
The animosity between the two groups started when Narvasa approved the controversial Kia-San Miguel Beer trade that saw Kia’s No. 1 pick going to San Miguel in exchange for three members of the team’s second unit and a future draft.
The team owner, however, emphasized that he was not against that deal, saying: “It was part and parcel in the PBA business and the right of every team to boost its title chance. But in future, the parity of all teams should be guarded with utmost care.”
“I just hope this impasse will be settled before Board’s planning session takes place,” the team owner said.
Meantime, SMC yesterday vowed to reach out to the other members of the Board to resolve the impasse as a collegial body, not as individuals, to maintain the integrity of the league.
In a statement, SMC said: “We trust we would be able to resolve issues concerning Narvasa’s tenure and other matters regarding the PBA’s future direction in the upcoming Annual Planning set on Nov. 14, with fitting dignity and decorum.
All five teams composed of San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra, Star Hotshots, Globalport and Kia Picanto will also continue to make available its players to the Philippine team that is preparing for the Fiba-Asia World Cup qualifier and other league functions. We believe this should not be adversely affected by the board members’ differences in opinion.