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Ricky Vargas--not Ramoncito Fernandez--is new PBA board chairman, and Vargas explains why

Newly-installed PBA board chairman declared the 2018 season open. Dennis Acosta

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--By the cycle of hierarchy for the chairmanship of the PBA board of governors, NLEX governor Ramoncito Fernandez is supposed to replace GlobalPort's Mikee Romero for the 2018 season.

But lo and behold, it was TNT's Ricky Vargas who was on the microphone and represented the entire board in announcing that Chito Narvasa is set to step down as PBA commissioner on Sunday.

More interestingly enough, Fernandez was standing at the back of Vargas during the said announcement.

As it turned out, Vargas was named the chairman of the PBA board for the new season.

"I was gone for seven years," said Vargas, whose alternate governor Pato Gregorio was representing the KaTropa in the PBA board since 2010 and was the board chairman for the 2015 season. "I'm not [anymore] used to press conferences like this."

On how Vargas ended up with the PBA board leadership post, he said, "There was a swap between NLEX and Talk 'n Text, where NLEX graciously gave the opportunity to be chairman for this year [to Talk 'n Text] in exchange of NLEX getting the spot of Talk 'n Text in the succession."

It can be recalled, however, that Fernandez was the one who presided an emergency board meeting on Nov. 2 with the governors present agreeing in unison for Narvasa's term not to be extended.

[Related Story: NARVASA OUT | PBA Board ends commissioner's tenure in emergency meeting]

The said meeting was blasted by San Miguel board member Robert Non hours later, calling it an "act on a whim."

[Related Story: Narvasa out as commish? That's "acting on a whim" says Non]

With four other governors, who like Non were absent in the emergency meeting, siding with him, an impasse within the board took place, and fears on whether the league will push through with the new season or not grew among the fans.

However, the 12 PBA governors were present during the Narvasa resignation announcement, and the opening of the 2018 season pushed through with Vargas declaring the start, the first signs that the impasse is over.

And Vargas formalized the end of the leadership crisis with one simple statement: "We're back together--stronger than ever."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno