NOVEMBER 2017 SPECTATOR
THE PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) is in turmoil, all because of PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa.
No, the country’s No. 1 sporting entertainment is not losing money.
But the league’s 7 breakway governors want Narvasa out.
That’s when the trouble began.
The Suicidal 7 could not oust Narvasa because the PBA constitution does not allow.
The league law says 8 governors are required to remove a commissioner.
That is a bit unique, if not weird, because 7 is already a majority as there are 12 governors.
But then, the law may be harsh but that is the law. It must be followed, or a constitutional crisis would ensue.
Money-wise, the PBA has been earning to the tune of billions of pesos the last 10 years or so.
That is why since 2005, the PBA is holding its Planning Session yearly overseas.
So much money floods the cash registers of the league that its 12 governors can ill afford to go out of town just to map out plans for each coming season.
This year is no exception.
All 12 governors flew to Los Angeles, California, in a fresh bid to chart the 2018-2019 thrust of Asia’s first play-for-pay loop.
But in the head count just days before the planned sessions, 4 governors were absent.
The four were part of the 7 governors that wanted Narvasa out.
Sadly, this had reduced the PBA into a fractured organization, divided by self-interest and fractiousness.
It put in jeopardy the very existence of the league.
The cause of division is very elementary.
One faction wants Narvasa out as PBA commissioner.
Another wing wants Narvasa retained for a third straight stint.
As I said, it’s funny that 7 of 12 governors—although they had the majority—couldn’t oust Narvasa. The law, in short, is on Narvasa’s side.
The 7 governors were led by MVP’s Meralco, TNT Katropa and NLEx, who got support from Blackwater, Rain or Shine, Phoenix and Alaska.
The 5 others who opposed them were spearheaded by RSA’s teams San Miguel Beer, Ginebra and Star; they had support from Kia and GlobalPort.
MVP’s oust-Narvasa move was decisively deflected because—as I said again—the PBA law says a vote of 8 of the 12 governors is needed to remove Narvasa.
Narvasa, whose second term will end on Dec. 31, is clinging on to the law to salvage his post.
Obviously, Narvasa has become legalistic.
And why not?
If one has the law on his side, by all means, he will fight for it up to the ends of the earth.
Trouble began when Narvasa approved a trade sending the 6-foot-8 Fil-German Christian Standhardinger from Kia to San Miguel Beer in exchange for SMB’s three benchwarmers and SMB’s 2019 first-round Draft pick.
The MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) group accused Narvasa of being biased to SMB, resulting in the 7 teams’ ill-fated plot to kick Narvasa out.
The side of RSA’s (Ramon S. Ang) SMB, Ginebra, Star, GlobalPort and Kia came to Narvasa’s rescue, thus blocking the 7 teams’ remove-Narvasa ploy.
The impasse had put the 12 governors in Los Angeles in a bind.
In fact, to repeat, four governors did not even show up in the US for the Planning Sessions originally set for four days.
In short, the planned PBA drafting of operations for season 2018 has been reduced into a sightseeing tour for the present eight governors who were mostly accompanied by their wives and children.
The quickest way to resolve the standoff, of course, is for Narvasa to resign.
But will he do that? He has RSA’s backing, so why would he walk away—RSA being very influential as he owns SMB, Ginebra and Star?
If Narvasa does that, resigns, the 7 mob-minded governors would have completed a first coup ever in the 42-year history of the league.
It will also put to naught the wisdom behind the 5 governors’ bid to uphold the league’s rule of law.
Thus, Narvasa resigning would mean a vendetta-fueled victory by the 7 anti-Narvasa group.
But again, the question: Will Narvasa do it? Resign?
My two-cents worth of wisdom?
He will resign if RSA tells him so.
Remember, it is RSA’s 5-governor bloc that has kept Narvasa in his post, effectively deflecting the 7 governors’ ill-advised bid to shoo out Narvasa.
Will Narvasa toss out the window RSA’s solid handsome support just like that?
He’s crazy if he does that. Plain and simple.
By AL S. MENDOZA