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D_I_A
06-08-2008, 01:58 AM
Daily Tribune

6/8/2008

By Aldrin Cardona



Noli Eala, former commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and founder/chairman of the fledgling Liga Pilipinas, is expected to be appointed executive director of the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) when the troubled merger elects its first permanent set of officers on June 12 at the Dusit Hotel in Makati.

But two new names would soon join the list, which observers suspect is another case of political expediency to stem very rough times ahead in the face of Basketball Association of the Philippines’ continued defiance of the BAP-SBP leadership.

An unimpeachable source confirmed Eala’s impending appointment after BAP-SBP president Manny Pangilinan and his closest advisers conferred recently to finalize the line up the telecommunications mogul is expected to present before the 19 official delegates recognized by the merger.

Pangilinan is expected to become the hands down choice to retain the presidency with Eala, his soon-to-be man on-board in every BAP-SBP dealings. Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno is said to be primed for the chairmanship, while Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella would sit as his vice.

Moreno and Puentevella have never been associated with the BAP-SBP until only recently. The two, however, could be potent forces to meet head-on BAP’s Prospero Pichay, a losing senatorial candidate, and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who began to style themselves as president and chairman of their own “BAP-SBP.”

A divided group awaits Eala, who admitted he recently provided audience to the Pichay-Villafuerte group, which is associated with Chinese citizen Graham Lim, BAP’s disgraced leader who is facing deportation orders which the Bureau of Immigration could not implement until now. Lim was found to have faked his papers to claim Filipino citizenship.

Eala, himself, confirmed he has a meeting set with Pangilinan tomorrow night but claimed he has yet been officially offered the seat to be vacated by Patrick Gregorio, who resigned after the Philippine team’s disastrous campaign in the recent Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship in Jakarta.

Gregorio got the flak for his failure to secure the necessary papers for Nigerian Sam Ekwe, who was supposed to play as import for the RP team in the recent Seaba Championship in Jakarta. The Nationals finished as runners-up to host Indonesia for playing with a big gap in their roster.

Gregorio resigned eventually but was told to stay until the June 12 elections.

Eala claimed Gregorio had sounded off Pangilinan’s intention to appoint him to one of the most important positions in the BAP-SBP.

“It’s not official, and I still have to clear some issues on Monday. There is a couple of questions that I wanted to clear and some issues I have to deal with my present association now,” Eala said. “But if everything becomes clear soon, (the appointment) will always be an honor).”

It’s not expected to become an easy ride for Eala, though.

Ghosts of his past

An Eala critic claimed “it would be unwise” for Pangilinan to appoint Eala to Gregorio’s post as he has allegedly yet to erase a past record that caused his departure from the PBA on moral and personal issues.

“How can somebody disgraced from one group be good enough to become the executive director of mother association?” asked the source, who begged off to be identified.

Eala, however, has stayed away from limelight months after he resigned as PBA commissioner, until he resurfaced with a new league, the Liga Pilipinas, which is almost completely his own.

Eala, however, said he is ready for the challenge.

“Handa naman ako na ituloy ang mga programa, at harapin yung mga projects na iiwan ni Pato (Gregorio),” said Eala. It was Eala who recommended Gregorio to the post he would soon occupy himself. “The transition should not be a problem.”

“Obviously, there are some unfinished business for SBP, but I am also a member of the board and am updated with what’s going on, things we have accomplished and what needs to be worked on,” said Eala.

The bridge

Puentevella, meanwhile, offered himself to bridge the warring basketball factions.

“They’re all my friends, I think I can help. I can be the bridge between MVP (Pangilinan) and Pichay and Villafuerte on the other side,” Puentevella said.

Puentevella, however, reiterated he was yet informed of his possible nomination as vice chairman. “Wala pa ‘yan at this point, but I am told either that or I would stay as a member of the advisory council,” he said.

Although the International Basketball Federation has expressed its recognition of the Pangilinan group as the duly recognized affiliate from the Philippines, the BAP side of the merger held an election on Wednesday on the strength of what they claimed were the “Bangkok agreement and the Tokyo communiqué,” which they claimed recognized all its 69 member groups.

Pangilinan’s group ignored the election and will push through with the BAP-SBP’s own congress on June 12.

More questions

The BAP-SBP, however, is not without flaws.

A leader of the Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports, Cultural and Educational Association (Nopsscea), a former member of Pilipinas Basketball, predecessor of the SBP, questioned the group’s delisting from the list of BAP-SBP’s recognized groups.

According to Rudy Ascona, Nopsscea representative to the SPB, they were surprised by the sudden inclusion of another group from Bacolod, where ironically, Puentevella is coming from.

Another group is also questioning the recognition of Rey Gamboa’s Battle of the Champions group, which its leaders claimed is just a duplication of the UAAP and the NCAA.

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It seems that SBP is giving the BAP its dose of its own medicine, tapatan blues, using politicians as pawns...hehe

Second, Eala's assumption to the Executive Director post will be one challenging task for him after what happened to him

and lastly former Pilipinas Basketball allies in the Visayas who are alienated just because SBP has to accomodate another ally.

sibling rivilry huh...