The Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) election in Bali, Indonesia, three weeks ago should have been a source of great interest for the country if only because a Filipino ran for the post of secretary general.
Quite intriguing was the absence of any official announcement regarding the result of the election, except for a few unofficial reports that the Filipino candidate lost. To whom and by how many votes, nobody could tell right away.
Former ABC secretary general Moying Martelino was one of the first people I called to seek details of the polls.
Moying said there are 11 members of the Seaba: Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and East Timor.
Moying, however, was not updated on the Seaba election and so I had to call Mikee Romero, whose Philippine Patriots is a member squad of the Asean Basketball League.
Mikee suggested that I call Erik Thohir of Indonesia, who was reelected president of the Seaba during the Bali assembly. Mikee said he wasn?t sure how many votes the Philippine candidate got.
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It was already very late and way past deadline when I finally got hold of the reelected Seaba head, Thohir.
He said this is his second and last term and that the only reason he sought four more years in office is because Seaba members wanted to make sure that the program and projects he started will run seamlessly.
?The other members of Seaba want me to continue what I started four years ago. We have put in place development programs for basketball that not only involve coaches, players and referees but commissioners as well,? Erik said.
He added that he has done the same for his country as well.
?My vision is to make Asean teams a force to be reckoned with in Asian competition, not just also-rans like we are now,? he said.
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Because the Philippines is the basketball power in Southeast Asia, Erik said he was looking for its representative to head Seaba after four years.
?I invited the Philippines, represented by Noli Eala, to run as my deputy, paving the way for his presidency after this term,? Erik related.
I couldn?t understand whether or not Eala accepted the offer. But Erik said he was surprised when Eala eventually teamed up with a representative from Thailand who ran against him for president.
When election time came, Thohir ran against the Thai bet and fielded Dato Yeoh Choo Hock of Malaysia for secretary general against Eala.
Both Thohir and Yeoh, who were seeking reelection, won.
Turns out the Thai candidate has ran and lost for president of the association several times.
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According to Thohir, 10 Asean countries voted in the last election.
He got seven votes, the Thai bet three. Yeoh got six votes and Eala four.
The Philippines also failed to get a seat in the board.
?I offered SBP the hosting of the pre-qualifying tournament for the Stankovic Cup. I don?t know if they?re still interested,? said Erik. ?I?m very eager to work with the Philippines. The election is over. We must forget about it and start working as a team.?