PBA board laments SBP decision on Asiad pull-out but stresses continued support

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial talks to the media in a press conference on the SBP's Asian Games pull-out Friday night. PBA Media Bureau
By Ricky Manliguis

QUEZON CITY-- The PBA Board of Governors is still in high spirits and continues its ‘all-out-support’ in the aftermath of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ decision to withdraw the country’s participation in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

[Related Story: SBP suddenly pulls Gilas out of Asian Games]

In a press conference before tip-off of Game 1 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals between San Miguel and Barangay Ginebra on Friday night, seven members of the board once again expressed their desire to send a PBA-bannered team to the quadrennial sporting event.

“All-out pa rin kami, ang Rain or Shine, kahit ngayon, kahit bukas,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, who was joined by Governors Al Francis Chua of Ginebra, San Miguel’s Robert Non, Magnolia’s Rene Pardo, Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, Global Port’s Eric Arejola, Raymond Zorilla of Phoenix, and Bobby Rosales of Columbian Dyip.

The board members also said that they were not consulted by the SBP on the decision and were only known about it thru social media.

“I found out of the decision this morning on Twitter,” Zorilla said.

“Actually, when we left the board meeting, I knew we will be supporting the Asian Games,” said PBA vice chairman Bachmann. “I just found out about the decision through social media that we backed out. I had no knowledge that we backed out. It was only when Commissioner Willie Marcial told me that we backed out."

The SBP issued the decision of the pull-out late Thursday morning, a move that shocked not only the PBA but the whole country as well.

As earlier reported, the initial plan was to send the TNT KaTropa to the country's representatives, but after the infamous FIBA World Cup qualifiers incident which led to the suspension of four TNT players, Rain Or Shine stepped in as a possible replacement, to be coached by NLEX mentor Yeng Guiao.

The suspensions, however, are not carried over to the Asian Games, which is not sanctioned by the FIBA, therefore still allowing the suspended players to play.

The league had already made some adjustments to accommodate the Asiad schedule, including agreeing to change Rain Or Shine's schedule in the third conference. In the said adjustment, the Elasto Painters will only return to play after their Asian Games duty is done.

But despite the sudden change of heart by the SBP, the league still stressed its commitment to loan players for international competition, including the Asian Games.

"Even with these sentiments, we're all out in supporting the SBP," added Zorilla. "The PBA will always be supportive, anything for flag and country, but let's put matters in the proper perspective."

Chua later called for the netizens to spare the league from any blame in the issue.

“Wag naman natin idiin ang PBA. Kung alam niyo lang ang puno't-dulo. Malinaw po ang usapan ni commissioner saka ng SBP na ganito ang gagawin,” said Chua. "Kami rin po, sumama ang loob namin."

Marcial later told the media that what happened will never create a rift between the league and the SBP.

"Sa palagay ko, walang crack. May miscommunication lang. Pero crack, wala. Kita mo, sama-sama na ulit lahat. Solid ang PBA," said the commissioner. "May miscommunication lang. Hindi lang na-inform, hindi nasama sa proseso."

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