By JONAS TERRADO
Manny V. Pangilinan is backing a proposal which will pit a PBA selection against the Chinese national team in an exhibition aimed to start the league’s 46th season on a high note.
Pangilinan on Saturday echoed the sentiments of PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas, who believes that a PBA-China series will help the country back to some “semblance of normalcy.”
“Yes to Ricky Vargas‘ China friendly — hmmm a bit of an oxymoron nowadays,” Pangilinan tweeted, referring to the ongoing territorial dispute at West Philippine Sea which has simmered in recent weeks.
“But hey, if it helps break the pressure and provide relief to our people — lllleeeeezzz ggggoooo PBA!” added the chairman emeritus of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and owner of PBA teams TNT, Meralco and NLEX.
Vargas bared Friday, April 9 that he would like to see a PBA selection, dubbed as the “PBA Warriors” play a best-of-seven tournament against the Chinese squad to kick start the season which has been dealing with delays due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“I would like to see Season 46 jumpstarted with this exhibition match, the technical aspects of which could be crafted by our tournament officials. We need to give our people inspiration and hope. I will even join the team in their ‘friendlies’,” Vargas said.
The PBA chair also expressed an idea of having NLEX coach Yeng Guiao call the shots for the selection, adding that “he would be perfect to lead a courageous charge for national pride and honor.”
Vargas’ proposal may be tackled in the PBA’s next Board of Governors meeting which could be held in the next several days.
Initial plans approved in their last board meeting last month were put on hold, with the 46th season opener likely to start in late-May or in June due to the health crisis.
But Vargas said the first order of business is for all of the players to get vaccinated “as part of the country’s healing process.”