Manny Pangilinan 'retires' as basketball head to give way to new SBP leadership
SBP head Manny V. Pangilinan presides over the press conference. Gerry Ramos

SPORTSMAN-businessman V. Pangilinan announced on Thursday that he is 'retiring' as head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to give way to a 'young, energetic' leadership in the country's basketball body.

Pangilinan's term as president actually lapsed in February and he is disqualified from seeking another term owing to the two-term limit set in the charter drafted by the SBP after it took the place of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) as the Fiba-recognized body for Philippine basketball.

"I don't want to violate the rules that we have crafted," said Pangilinan in a hastily called press conference at the PLDT head office, hinting that he will not just step down but also step away from the association he helped form after a long battle to strip the BAP of Fiba recognition.

"It's for the best that I retire," he said.

[See MVP says tapping Tak 'N Text to play in 2017 World Cup qualifiers an option]

Pangilinan confirmed that his second term as SBP head, as well as those of other members of its board, had expired in February. But elections were not held because of "the busy schedule."

“We should follow the rules and prove to everybody else that I’m not here to tweak or tinker around rules,” he said.

He announced that the SBP will be holding a special annual asembly in January for a new election which he said should mark a changing of the guard in the association.

"It signals a change of leadership and membership of the board," Pangilinan said. "Perhaps the new membership needs fresh blood for Philippine basketball."

Pangilinan said the new leadership will make the decisions on several issues concerning the national team, primarily Gilas Pilipinas' participation in the Olympic wildcard qualifiers in July and the newly reformatted qualifiers for the 2019 Fiba World Cup in China beginning in 2017.

[See SBP mulls sending Gilas cadet team to Rio Olympics wildcard qualifiers]

Pangilinan, however, made it clear the PLDT group will not abandon the cage body.

“We remain committed to Philippine basketball. Personally, our group will continue to support the SBP by whatever means that will be made available to us by the new leadership of the SBP," said the businessman-sportsman.

“Our love for basketball has not diminished at all,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan also hopes that the new president will continue what his leadership has started.

“I think we would help the new board find a new president who will hopefully continue what we have started,” said Pangilinan.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports