For a moment there, it looked like the teams in the PBA had snubbed an invitation sent by Sen. Koko Pimentel, co-chair of the Senate committee on Games and Amusements.
His attention caught by an article in the papers citing what was described as the growing physicality and violence in the professional basketball league, Pimentel decided to do something about it. He immediately sent an invitation to PBA commissioner Chito Salud, and the managers and team captains of every ballclub to the Senate last Tuesday, Feb. 5, to find out if what was written was true and, if it was, how the Senate could help to preserve the limbs, life and career of the PBA players.
Pimentel had also invited the GAB through chair Doming Guanzon and commissioner Fritz Gaston, a former PBA cager.
“Where are the players?” a surprised and disappointed Pimentel asked PBA legal counsel Melvin Mendoza, who was the lone representative sent by the PBA office.
The senator had probably expected a bit of glitz and glamour in the day’s proceedings but there was none.
“Did the teams snub the senator’s invitation?” I asked Mendoza.
He swore they did not, neither did Commissioner Salud who was abroad on vacation.
“We did not know that the managers and team captains were also invited to the Senate. The senator’s secretariat said they had attached an invitation to the ballclubs in another sheet which was faxed to us, but we never got it,” explained Mendoza.
Among others, Mendoza said Senator Pimentel had two major concerns. First, he wanted to know if it was true that the games in the PBA were rough, violent and career-threatening. Second, he wanted to be clarified on what agency is supposed to regulate and control the physicality of the game. The senator always had the impression that it was the GAB.
Mendoza and Commissioner Gaston told the senator that supervision and control were under the PBA commissioner’s office which penalizes and fines erring players, including referees who are supposed to be in full control of the actual games.
Gaston told Pimentel that the basic duty of the GAB is to issue licenses.
Will there be another hearing?
Mendoza said there might be after the PBA submits a position paper, explaining in particular how the roughness in Game 6 of the semifinals between Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee was resolved.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, who is running for representative in Pampanga, does not foresee any major changes in his coaching schedule during the campaign period.
“I plan to do what I have done in the last four elections,” Yeng said. “I will maintain our morning practice sessions and do my campaigning in the afternoon, all the way to midnight. I plan to follow this routine everyday, except when there are games in the afternoon or evening.”