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08-02-2006, 08:08 AM
Reality show in fraud PBL tryouts?
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 08/02/2006

Take it from Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidad. The tryout conducted for a supposedly new PBL team and covered for a reality TV show called "May Trabaho Ka" last Sunday was unauthorized.

"It’s a fraud," said Trinidad.

Some 30 hopefuls showed up at the Central College of the Philippines gym on Aurora Boulevard last Sunday morning to try out for spots in what was purported to be a new PBL team.

Veteran coach Bong Go conducted the tryouts which lasted about two hours. Three players were cut at the end of the session and the survivors were told to expect a call confirming the next practice this Friday.

The aspirants weren’t told which new PBL team they were trying out for. Someone in the stands mentioned it was Henkel, a German company whose products include Sista sealant, computers and soap. Henkel will take over Welcoat’s PBL franchise, which is moving to the PBA, and has inherited 6-9 prospect Eman Samigue with Caloy Garcia as coach.

But Garcia told The Star yesterday he had nothing to do with last Sunday’s tryouts. Boy Lapid, who is Welcoat’s assistant team manager, said he, too, had no knowledge of the tryouts.

Trinidad checked with the TV station that covered the tryouts and found out the team is owned by a cellphone pawnshop operator.

"We have not authorized any team or club to use our league name to conduct tryouts," said Trinidad. "This is a case of fraud and misrepresentation. We are not processing any new team applications and we are certainly not processing an application from a cellphone pawnshop. Besides, it’s a clear violation of PBL rules if we entertain an applicant that competes with the product of an existing team. Montańa Pawnshop has a PBL team which is why we can’t take in Cebuana Lhuillier."

PBL deputy commissioner Tommy Ong said a month ago, the league received a letter from a certain individual asking if his cellphone store on Ortigas could play as a new team.

Ong said he visited the cellphone store and was surprised to find out the owner was involved in a PBL team, Chaz Perfume, previously.

"I think he was shocked to see me because he probably didn’t expect I would still be working in the PBL," said Ong. "Back in 1999 when Yeng Guiao was PBL commissioner, he was known by a different name. Chaz left behind a trail of bouncing checks and owes the league about P1.4 Million. I think the Chaz players were paid in perfume."

Needless to say, Ong recommended not to pursue the cellphone store owner’s application.

PBL executive director Butch Maniego said he learned that STI College coach Vic Ycasiano was contracted by the same cellphone store owner a few weeks back to form a team.

When contacted, Ycasiano said he held about 20 practices for the new team, was promised a salary but given only "gasoline money" on a daily basis and players who were to receive P250 a practice got only P100.

"I was told the team would play in the PBL but the players who were showing up for practice were overage so I suggested to join another league," said Ycasiano. "There were even ads in tabloids inviting players for open tryouts. We signed up for the National Basketball League but backed out at the last minute. Then, we put up two teams in the Metro Basketball Tournament (MBT), one carrying the name of a laptop pawnshop and the other, a motorcycle pawnshop. I coached one of the teams."

The owner played on both MBT teams.

"You can’t fault the guy," said Ycasiano who has since left the team and recommended Go to take over. "He’s 38 and he just wants to play. He loves the game."

Trinidad said he found out former pro boxer Max Forrosuelo was invited to be a ballboy for the cellphone store team but left after two weeks of not being paid a single centavo. Forrosuelo is Trinidad’s personal trainer.

Trinidad clarified that he won’t stop the reality TV show from covering the tryouts and the cellphone store owner from forming a team but neither can use the PBL as a come-on for players.

"They can continue what they’re doing for as long as they don’t fool the players into thinking the tryouts are for a PBL team," said Trinidad.

The highlight of the reality TV program will show the tryout survivors in a one-week boot camp.