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PBA governors show united front as league opens as scheduled

/ 04:20 PM December 13, 2017

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.net

All is well with the PBA. Or so it seems.

The 43rd season of Asia’s oldest play-for-pay league will push through this Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, but not without a palpable cloud of unease which loomed over the preseason press conference Wednesday at Okada Manila.

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League chair Mikee Romero of GlobalPort said all the right words in the symposium as 10 of the 12 governors convened for the first time since the controversial impasse, assuring the fans that the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup will push through as scheduled.

“December 17 is still the date for the opening of season 43. We can’t take the PBA away from the Filipinos, or the Filipinos away from the PBA, ” said Romero, who remains the chairman of the board.

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Aside from Romero, also present for the event are league vice chair Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX, Robert Non of San Miguel, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Rene Pardo of Magnolia, Dickie Bachmann of Alaska, Mert Mondragon of Rain or Shine, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix, Silliman Sy of Blackwater, Bobby Rosales of Kia, alternate governor Ryan Gregorio of Meralco, and TNT assistant team manager Magnum Membrere. All 12 representatives dined in one table, a landmark moment considering the friction that split the Board into two groups over the past two months.

Embattled PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa was also at hand, but was on a separate table alongside his fellow league executives. The controversial figure opted to be a low-key figure on the side and hardly issued any statements, allowing the governors to take the center stage.

After the event was another story as representatives from the seven teams who are calling for Narvasa’s head quickly left the venue, while the other five stayed for a few minutes before making their exit.

Romero assured everyone that the Board is still working on fixing the issue, saying the governors’ collective is making sure the league’s 43-year-old legacy still prevailed.

“I think we’re a very solid group at this point in time. Business as usual. Basketball has to be fought inside the basketball courts, and it should remain inside the basketball courts. Any internal problems or whatever that we have, we will deal with it internally, within ourselves, within the 12 of us,” he said.

“This Sunday, what we should be watching are the players, the superstars of Philippine basketball.”

But the PBA couldn’t deny that the controversy took a toll on its major operations, with the usual extravagant opening ceremonies now  watered down to a simple rites at the Big Dome.

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“The TV coveror was also hampered by all that’s happened,” shared PBA communications and external affairs director Willie Marcial. “But we’ll still have an opening ceremonies. For sure, there will still be a parade of players.”

The board, though, vowed that the PBA will be as functional as it was before as Fernandez promised a bigger turnout this coming year.

“What the board promises you is we will have a more exciting year and we’ll continue to delight the millions of fans of the PBA. We promise that with your support, we will continue to make the PBA very relevant to the Filipinos,” he said.

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TAGS: 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, Board of Governors, chito narvasa, Mikee Romero, Ramoncito Fernandez
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