Sunday, September 2, 2012

Only Mercado to miss Fiba Asia Cup

WAS PRESIDENT Aquino serious when he threatened to write a letter to PBA ballclubs to make their players available for the national team?

If he was, then a number of clubs should expect communication coming from the Office of the President soon.

About half of the teams in the league had earlier failed to notify the PBA office of their intent to lend their players to Smart Gilas.

* * *

To be honest, as of this writing, I’m still not clear on the process that was supposed to be followed, if there was one, in the formation of Smart Gilas.

Was Smart Gilas head coach Chot Reyes supposed to request the PBA Commissioner’s office for the players he wanted for the forthcoming Fiba Asia Cup in Japan, with PBA Commissioner Chito Salud in turn writing each team for the players requested?

The way a senior colleague explained it to me, the clubs were expected to submit a sort of conforme letter to the PBA office, since “the teams must be aware of the players Chot wants,” he said.

“The names are always in the papers.”

* * *

Yesterday afternoon I touched base with commissioner Salud for some enlightenment. Did Chot ask for specific players? Was there a process?

The commissioner’s reply: “Yes, Chot did have a list of 16 at first. Then the board said he could have a pool of 20. Then they (Chot and company) went around asking the players to sign a commitment letter.”

I stopped to mull what the commissioner said, trying to read between the lines. Perhaps there was no need to have a letter of commitment signed; perhaps the transactions should have been coursed through the PBA Commissioner’s office, ensuring a hundred percent cooperation from all teams.

Minutes after my talk with Salud, I got a call from PBA media bureau head Willie Marcial who assured me that all the players who participated in the Jones Cup, except for Sol Mercado, will be able to play in the Fiba Asia Cup this September in Japan.

“Sol was disqualified because of a technicality,” he said.

Willie also explained that Chot needed a formal commitment from the players, before proceeding to the next step, which is to secure the approval of the team.

“Chot wants to make sure the national players are willing to undergo the demands of training for two teams. During the training period for the national team, they may not even have time for their families,” he said.

* * *

Not everybody in the PBA contingent heard the President’s offer to write “unpatriotic” teams a letter.

According to a member of the group, one of the officials was asked by the President if he could do anything to help the national team. The official told him that one of their biggest problems was that some of the PBA ballclubs would not allow their players to render service to flag and country.

“I will write them a letter. Sasabihin ko sa kanila, boss, thank you for being (less) nationalistic,” the President was quoted as saying. I don’t know if those were his exact words. He could have been just joking. The President, I mean.

* * *

“The move by the NCAA to transfer network is already seeing positive results,” reports Paul Mata of AKTV.

The oldest collegiate league in the country signed a deal with TV5 to air the games on AKTV on IBC starting this school year.

“Based on the ratings released by Nielsen, NCAA has a big margin of viewers watching its basketball games compared to the UAAP in Mega Manila. The average number of viewers reached 120,000 viewers against the 70,000 average of the UAAP on Studio 23,” he said.

“Two games registered high numbers as well in the National Urban Television Audience Measurement. The tightly fought match between San Beda and Perpetual registered the highest number of viewers with 374,296. The opening-day game between Letran and San Sebastian placed second with 297,460 watching Kevin Alas score 31 points to lead the Knights.”

Read more PBA finals news here.

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