IS MVP facing a coup in his own backyard?
A day after Manny V. Pangilinan announced he's stepping down as president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), it has emerged that a disgruntled group is silently trying to gain numbers and moving to take over the leadership from the MVP camp.
On Thursday, Pangilinan said his second term as SBP had lapsed last February and he is disqualified from seeking another mandate owing to the eight-year term limit under the by-laws he helped craft after the ouster of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) as the country's Fiba-recognized body.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg, sources told Spin.ph.
Long before Pangilinan's group announced elections to be held in January, a group in the 25-man SBP board of trustees has covertly started to pull out support for the MVP camp.
The loyalty count is still sketchy and continues to change, but one member of the splinter group who spoke on the condition of anonymity claimed they already have 10 of the 25 stakeholders on board, with five or six more ready to jump ship.
If plans push through, the splinter group may seek the ouster of Pangilinan and his lieutenants from the SBP to make way for a possible new leadership even before the January elections.
“Ganun ang plano nila. Kasi hanggang January pa si MVP kung tutuusin eh. Kaso 'yung grupo nga na 'yun, gusto nila na hindi na umabot pa run,” he said.
Asked about the group's source of discontent, the source claimed the rival group is unhappy with the way the MVP camp has been running the association, claiming it has not called a board meeting in one year and even failed to call for new elections in February as mandated by its by-laws.
Another concern, he claimed, was Pangilinan's statement saying he plans to call off the country’s participation in the coming Rio De Janeiro Olympics qualifier which the group branded as 'arbitrary.'
“Hindi lang kasi dapat siya (Pangilinan) ang nagde-decide dun. He must seek the resolution of the board. Nasa by laws ng SBP 'yan, which we crafted ten years ago. Dapat dumadaan sa botohan ng board 'yun, hindi sila sila lang,” he said.
Interestingly, among the personalities that have emerged in the wake of the upheaval is Noli Eala, a former commissioner of the PBA and executive director of the SBP whose last known ties were with San Miguel Corp. as former basketball director.
SMC has long been the rival of Pangilinan's PLDT group, both in business and in the PBA.
Sources within the SBP claimed Eala has been trying to gain a place in the SBP board as the representative of NCAA South through the family-owned San Pablo Colleges in Laguna.
The current SBP leadership has so far kept the door shut on Eala, the source added.
Another source also cast doubt on whether the Pangilinan camp still enjoys the support of the PBA - its mother association in the SBP - amid its conflict with the league board over the pullout of targeted players from the Gilas teams that took part in the last two Fiba Asia tournaments.
On Monday, no one among president and CEO Chito Salud, Commissioner Chito Narvasa, and chairman Robert Non of San Miguel showed up for the SBP board meeting where the PBA was represented by GlobalPort board of governor Erick Arejola,deputy commissioner Rickie Santos, and media bureau chief Willie Marcial.