PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa yesterday wrapped up his officiating tour of all 12 ballclubs after visiting the Meralco Bolts in team practice at the Meralco gym.
Bolts coach Norman Black, assistant coach Luigi Trillo and all the Bolts players, except shooter Gary David who was brought along by Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin to Changsha, China for the FIBA Asia Championship, were present.
“Overall, very positive response, especially from the players,” said PBA deputy commissioner Rickie Santos.
“Sila yung maraming tanong; nagpapalakpakan pa nga kung minsan e dahil nalaman nila na mababawasan na yung sobrang sakitan.”
Two weeks ago, Narvasa, in a bid to open up clogged pathways to the basket for offensive players, decrease discretionary powers of the referees and to take away “wrestling” aspects of the game, dropped by the scrimmages of San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Barako Bull and the Star Hotshots to brief coaches and players of the modified rules.
In 45-minute sessions, Narvasa, along with deputy commissioner Rickie Santos and a couple of PBA referees, explained changes that will be implemented starting with the 41st season which kicks off Oct. 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The tour took a break during the Jones Cup Invitational where Narvasa and the PBA board of governors flew to Chinese-Taipei to root for Gilas Pilipinas and resumed right after.
One after the other, Talk ‘N Text, Globalport, Alaska, NLEX, Blackwater, Mahindra (formerly Kia) and Rain or Shine got a visit from the Commissioner’s Office before Meralco got the last call.
Last Monday, the league’s technical committee started its twice-a-week review and conditioning of the referees who will then be dispatched to the various tuneup games to apply the new guidelines on officiating.
With the offense getting cleared up, Santos said PBA fans can expect a more free-flowing and electrifying action during games, with lots of dunks and drives.
Asked about the other aspect of the game, Santos said defense was likewise thoroughly discussed during the briefings, with the players educated on what they can do without the risk of getting whistled for fouls.
Do defense-oriented teams like Rain or Shine subscribe to these changes which would appear to diminish their strength?
“As far as I know, kay Coach Yeng [Guiao] basta yung itatawag sa kanila e itatawag din sa kabila, okey lang sa kanya,” Santos said.