By REY C. LACHICA
PARIS, Spain – Willie Marcial is a friend to everybody – players, officials, and more importantly, the team owners or their representatives.
Aside from his strong connection to the PBA family, Marcial endears himself to everyone for his unique leadership – being a down-to-earth, workaholic and fatherly-like figure to players – big or small players.
Little wonder, Marcial, 61, earned a new three-year contract extension as the league commissioner during the board’s annual planning in this picturesque French capital which will host next year’s Summer Olympics.
Though he’s not a miracle worker, Marcial does his thing the way it should be – with passion and utmost dedication.
“His love for the league and deep concern for the welfare of the players and fans were the primary reasons why he was given another fresh mandate,” said NorthPort Governor Erick Arejola of Marcial.
While very accommodating, Marcial is tough as a nail when the image of the league is at stake.
“I am here to protect the league and the interest of the fans,” said Marcial. “We have to give fans what they deserve for which is a real good entertainment.”
The new contract will assure the 10th commissioner that he will still be in charge when the league celebrates its golden year two years from now.
The board’s show of support was like what it did three years ago in Milan, Italy where his contract was also extended to another three-year term even though he still has a year left in his original contract. He was appointed commissioner of the league after serving as Officer In-Charge during a major leadership crisis that hounded the league.
His rise to power started from being a league statistician in 1983 before serving as floor director for former TV partner Vintage Enterprises. He was later appointed as co-head of the league statistics department.
Being a friend to most sportswriters covering the premier basketbasll league, Marcial was appointed Media Bureau chief in 2013 before becoming a special assistant to then Commissioner Noli Eala.
For his fresh mandate, he vowed to make the PBA more vibrant and exciting and keep its status as the country’s premier sporting show.