by Francis N. Tolentino
Basketball is, undoubtedly, the sport closest to the Filipino heart.
Even young children who have just learned how to walk are taught how to throw the ball and make it land inside the hoop.
Summer time in the Philippines is basketball time as young people take a vacation from school and enjoy building bodies and “buddies” by joining basketball leagues.
Whichever franchise we cheer for, everyone would agree that it is a delight for us to see our basketball idols rampage the hard court.
Recently, however, the country’s premier basketball league – the Philippine Basketball Association – was wrapped in controversy after a leadership issue broke out and caught media attention.
Loss of confidence in the PBA leadership of Chito Narvasa, which in turn sprang from the Commissioner’s approval of the trade between Kia and San Miguel Beer, was identified as the reason for the overthrow plot by seven members of the PBA Board of Governors.
The opening of the 43rd PBA season is scheduled a little over a month from today. While the needed votes to remove Commissioner Narvasa from his seat has not been reached, his wrinkled relationship with the PBA Board of Governors will surely affect the Philippine Basketball Association as a whole.
The current PBA Board is comprised of representatives or governors as they are called from each franchised team. These governors, in turn, elect the Chairman of the Board of Governors and the PBA Commissioner.
In the existing setup, no PBA player is given a seat in the Board, when in fact, these players are very integral parts of the league itself. Even in the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is by the way the oldest existing basketball league in the world, the same system is observed.
The players are not given the opportunity to participate in the resolution of issues, when, in fact, they are often the ones directly affected by the Board’s decisions.
It is perhaps high time for the PBA to consider the inclusion of players in the composition of the Board. After all, these players give life and luster to the PBA.
Getting them involved in the resolution of issues such as player’s trade off or even matters that involve PBA leadership and governance ensures democracy within the system and encourages them to contribute even more to the growth and development of the league.
Basketball has been a way of life for these players. The PBA leadership may thus be strengthened even more by according PBA players with the decision-making power they rightfully deserve.