Former La Salle guard eyed as next PSC chair; Noli Eala term is ‘collateral damage’
Four months after appointing a man in charge, is it possible that Malacañang just wanted someone to warm the seat for the permanent chair of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)?
Dino Aldeguer, the former La Salle basketball star in the UAAP two decades back, is reportedly very high on a very short list of candidates that will replace Noli Eala in the coming days—if not before the end of the year—and call the shots for the government’s sports funding agency.
The Inquirer learned of the development from three separate reliable sources who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not in the position to speak on the matter. The sources said Aldeguer’s appointment is just awaiting the signature of President Marcos.
Eala, the ex-Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner, was given the assignment by Malacañang last Aug. 30. But close to 120 days since then, the Office of the President has yet to fill three slots of the four-man commissioners’ board, having previously named bowling Hall of Fame member Bong Coo.
“What I know is that the post had already been offered to Dino,” a source, who is aware of what is transpiring behind the scenes, said. “There are just some details being finalized.”
Another source—a national sports association (NSA) president—was already made aware of the looming change of PSC leadership and added that Eala “has been very cooperative with respect to our athletes’ needs. But I think he is a collateral damage here.”
The NSA president added that Eala “being appointed during the term of [former executive secretary] Vic Rodriguez is his biggest disadvantage here. And we know that that basketball player (Aldeguer) has the inside track [as Eala’s replacement].”
Hail Mary three
The 47-year-old Aldeguer, whose collegiate basketball career was highlighted by a Hail Mary three-pointer in Game 3 of the 1999 UAAP Finals against University of Santo Tomas that eventually led to the Green Archers’ second of four straight titles under Franz Pumaren, could not be reached for comment.
A graduate of sports management at La Salle in 2000, Aldeguer went on to have a two-year career with Alaska after being picked third overall by Purefoods in the 1999 PBA Draft.
The 5-foot-9 point guard then packed his bags and went on to play in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association before calling it a career after four years, as he now tends to a construction business while being a father to two athlete sons and a daughter.
The Philippines will be coming off a banner last two years where weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the country’s first Olympics gold in Tokyo, Japan, in August 2021, before winning World Championship golds less than two months ago to complete her collection.
Alex Eala also became the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam tennis title by ruling the US Open junior girls tournament, while the national women’s football team qualified for the Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup which will be held next year in New Zealand and Australia.
That’s why one of Eala’s first projects was the proposal of a world-class facility where national athletes can train and the country can host big international events.
The Philippines prepares to campaign in the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games slated to be held in Cambodia in less than five months, and Eala, despite not having a complete board, has been attending to the needs of the NSAs.
“The NSAs have a lot of needs in relation to the SEA Games,” said another source who is directly aware of the situation. “What my NSA knows is that Noli will be replaced and that Aldeguer is the likely replacement.”