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LA trip pushes through for PBA

Half of 12 angry men who can’t seem to agree on whether a burning issue ought to be resolved legally or emotionally was to fly to Los Angeles late last night for what was originally conceived as a planning session that should have, among priorities in the agenda, officially welcomed the assumption to office of incoming PBA chairman Ramoncito Fernandez of NLEX.

That ambitious conference had since been scrapped. Instead the 43-year-old pro league appears to be in disarray, a house divided, its future uncertain, its existence under a cloud.

A tempestuous showdown between a seven-team bloc that included three ballclubs owned by telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan and a five-team group with three under the banner of San Miguel Corporation have all but gutted hopes of a celebratory gathering of league governors following the record-smashing Governors’ Cup Finals between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco and an unprecedented foray outside Asia where past planning sessions had been confined.

The media-labeled MVP bloc is demanding the resignation of Commissioner Chito Narvasa for “lack of trust and confidence” triggered apparently by his decision to green light the transfer of Kia’s draft rights to San Miguel Beer, which resulted in the Beermen using the No. 1 pick to acquire 6-foot-7 Fil-German rookie Christian Standhardinger during the Oct. 27 Rookie Draft.

The rival SMC bloc, on the other hand, has whipped out the PBA’s constitution and by-laws, asserting that only a two-thirds vote from the current roster – 8 out of 12 in the present setting – can dislodge a sitting commissioner.

Since then both sides have engaged in fiery rhetoric, uncovering some unflattering if unconfirmed revelations, before a tenuous ceasefire was thankfully brokered.

Allied with TNT KaTropa, Meralco and NLEX are Alaska, Phoenix, Rain or Shine and Blackwater while Globalport and Kia have joined San Miguel, Barangay Ginebra and Star Hotshots in questioning the validity of a resolution stating Narvasa’s tenure had expired at the end of the 42nd season and will henceforth not be renewed.

Deputy Commissioner for basketball operations Rickie Santos was named OIC by the MVP bloc but the appointment seems to be on hold.

A last-ditch effort to salvage a looming stalemate a couple of days before the departure to L.A. , with all 12 teams represented unlike in an earlier caucus, resolved little save to sustain an acquiescence by the club representatives to maintain an Omerta-like silence until an acceptable compromise is reached the week after next.

Both sides going to court for resolution is remote but nonetheless hangs like a Damocles sword.

Skipping the trip are TNT KaTropa’s Patrick Gregorio, Phoenix Fuel’s Raymond Zorrilla and Rain or Shine’s Mamerto Mondragon. Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio is said to be taking the place of Bolts governor Al Panlilio, who is joining a high-powered Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas delegation headed by Pangilinan, the SBP chairman emeritus, to Geneva, Switzerland to formally present the country’s hosting bid for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup.