WORDS have been said but the bond between Fiba and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) remains strong.
The assurance came from no less than SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios, who said the respect between the two cage bodies remains the same.
“We continue to have a very strong relationship with Fiba,” stressed Barrios.
SBP and Gilas Pilipinas project director Tab Baldwin last month made critical comments against certain policies of the sports’ world governing body.
Baldwin has since been reprimanded by the SBP, but retained his position within the federation in-charge of preparing the training the national team for its campaign in the 2023 Fiba World Cup to be hosted by the country along with Japan and Indonesia.
Barrios admitted the issue was discussed by Fiba with SBP president Al S. Panlilio.
Fiba secretary-general Andreas Zagklis talked to Panlilio about Baldwin’s remarks at the time the world cage body was conferring with the SBP president on the staging of a first ever Fiba Esports competitions.
Panlilio, according to Barrios, was one of four advisers Zagklis tapped in helping Fiba transition its tournaments from the court to video games.
“Nung time na pumutok yung kay coach Tab, napag-usapan nila yun,” the former PBA commissioner told his predecessor Noli Eala in a recent guesting in the radio show Power&Play. “President Panlilio is always in constant talk (kasi) with Fiba sec-gen Zagklis on different programs of Fiba and the Philippines. So marami talaga silang napag-uusapan.”
But Barrios believes the various representations the country had within Fiba somehow help negate whatever negative impressions were left by Baldwin’s statement.
He mentioned SBP chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan being a member of the powerful Fiba Central Board, Panlilio is with the Fiba-Asia Board, SBP Director for Operations Butch Antonio belongs to the Competitions Commission of Fiba-Asia, while legal counsel Atty. Aga Francisco is now chairman of the Fiba Legal Commission in Geneva.
“All of those official positions at FIBA levels augured well for the relationship,” Barrios stressed.