“Tokayo! Anong balita?” came the voice on the other end of the line even before the caller could speak.
Ramon Fernandez, four-time PBA most valuable player and one of the pillars of the 41-year-old institution, sounded energized as ever at 12 noon yesterday, exchanging pleasantries with an acquaintance from way back who eventually got in a congratulatory greeting.
News was still hot from the oven that Fernandez, who has been based for a long time in Cebu where his family and business are, has accepted a commissionership post in the Philippine Sports Commission Wednesday, a day after former PSC chairman Butch Ramirez heeded the call of fellow Davaoeño and incoming President Rodrigo Duterte for a second tour of duty at the government sports agency, and the man known as El Presidente appeared off and running.
“Ang dami na ngang mga text sa’kin na nagsusumbong ng kung anu-ano,” said Fernandez, who mentioned something about the Philippine dragon boat team and a three-story building reportedly constructed out of PSC funds. “Ti-tignan ko lahat yan pag nakaupo na’ko.”
A 19-time champion and a member of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players, Fernandez said he will meet with Ramirez today when the comebacking PSC chief returns from Manila to talk about who to possibly recommend for the three other commissioners posts that will be vacated by the end of the month.
“Mas maganda kasi kung magkaka-isa kami para magkakasundo sa ikaka-aayos ng sports sa bansa,” he said.
Fernandez let out a big laugh when told this could be the first time a PSC commissioner would be covered more than the national athletes he will be assigned to supervise.
“Ganoon ba? Hindi naman siguro, matagal na tayong nawala e,” he said.
Though clueless as to the identities of the next three presidential appointees to the PSC, Fernandez said anything can happen between today and Tuesday when he and Ramirez fly to Manila to meet with outgoing PSC chairman Richie Garcia.
“Baka magkaroon na ng mga announcement by that time,” he said.