PBA goes all out for flag and fansBy Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
There’s no reason to doubt the PBA can come up with a dream perfect road show in the new season that opens with people’s favorite Ginebra taking on Global Port, pro league newcomer, on Sunday.
For starters, league take-charge officers showed up as one in handsome brown suits, smiling like gorgeous grooms raring to take their respective brides in a mass wedding. They soon joined hands, stiffened like soldiers in a parade at center stage, and paused for posterity with a wordless vow to go all out and give fans the best that they deserve.
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Himself speaking, youthful league commissioner Chito Salud vowed fast-paced action and balanced competition, mainly with the slew of daring rookies ready to bang it up with grizzled league veterans.
Salud said they’re going all out for the sake of the fans, lifeblood of the league.
Reversals again promise to be the main fare, even with defending champion Talk ’N Text, shoved off the spotlight in the previous championship, showing up with new mentor Norman Black, a certified winner.
The Tropang Texters of Smart big boss Manny V. Pangilinan can’t wait to start riding high again, with Petron Blaze expected to give them an early run for their money.
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There’s reason to take the prediction about a record opening-day crowd seriously, what with perennial favorite Ginebra seeing action and sending in its latest prize recruit in LA Tenorio, hero of the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas team title triumph in the recent Jones Cup in Taipei.
In fact, the PBA didn’t have to think twice in deciding to train the spotlight on the triumphant Smart national squad which will be feted at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
The team sputtered and fell off the top to finish out of the medal in its next bigger outing, the Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo.
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But not to worry, declared PBA Commissioner Salud, who claimed that the setback was only temporary.
In fact, Salud was apparently in the process of using the fall in Tokyo to goad the Nationals to greater heights.
Salud has readily acceded to a request by national coach Chot Reyes for stronger manpower support from the PBA.
The way Salud responded, Smart Gilas could go take as many players as it needed.
“If he wishes more players, role players, to be invited to the pool, we’re willing to cooperate,” Salud said.
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Of course, Salud fully knows how vital the strong showing of a national team is to the attendance in the PBA.
With the pro league popularity again going where the National team goes, Salud is leaving no stone unturned in gunning for a great finish both for the flag and the pro league populace.
Meanwhile, Salud did honestly note that the Smart Nationals had fallen prey to their own deplorable outside shooting in the Tokyo Fiba Asia Cup.
There’s some problem here. While coach Chot has mentioned the names of June Mar Fajardo, Kelly Williams, Marc Pingris, Arwind Santos and Jayson Castro to plug holes, mainly around the shaded lane, there was not a single candidate to remedy the horrible national shooting woes.
Going by the roster of failed outside gunners in the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas team, the closest coach Chot could turn to for fool-proof support is the long-retired Allan Caidic.
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