SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios has assured that Manny V. Pangilinan enjoys the support and confidence of the board of trustees amid a threat on his leadership posed by a 'disgrunted group.'
Barrios said dissent within the country's governing body for basketball came only from a few members of the board, assuring that majority in the 25-man body still support the camp of Pangilinan who on Thursday announced that he will be standing aside for new elections in January.
"May mga (SBP) board na lumapit sa amin at inaaya nga raw sila na sumama dun sa kabilang grupo. Kung anumang grupo yun, hindi ko alam," Barrios, a former commissioner of the PBA, told Spin.ph.
"May mga naririnig kami na hindi na nga raw masaya, pero ang problema ayaw naman nila magpakilala. So may problema talaga tayo," said Barrios.
At the same, Barrios revealed he is also aware of an attempt by SBP executive director Noli Eala to earn a place in the board, which, if successful, will make him eligible to join the coming SBP elections.
Barrios said the SBP received a letter from the group supposedly naming Eala as Father Paul de Vera's replacement as NCAA South's representative in the board.
De Vera was one of the SBP board members whose term, like Pangilinan's, ended in February.
"May sulat nga kaming natanggap na pinapalitan na nga raw ni Noli si Father Paul de Vera bilang representative ng NCAA South. So tinawagan ko si Father Paul," he said.
"Nung natanggap namin 'yung sulat, tinanong namin si Father Paul, sabi ko, 'Alam mo ba ito?' Sabi naman niya hindi. 'Yun nga, ang sabi ko: 'Hindi ka man lang binigyan ng kurtesiya, pinapalitan ka na," Barrios added.
"So ang ginawa namin, sinulatan namin (sila), pinaliwanag namin na holdover status si Father Paul at hindi niya pala alam na pinalitan siya," he said, adding the group immediately withdrew the appointment of Eala.
Barrios said they have documents confirming Eala has not been appointed by NCAA South to the SBP board of trustees, making him ineligible to vie for the SBP presidency.
"So hindi pupwedeng tumakbo ng presidente si Noli Eala, kasi hindi siya member ng board," said Barrios. "So, parang lumalabas eh, may taga-labas na kumukupas sa atin."
Asked if he believes Eala's bid is being supported by San Miguel Corporation, a chief rival of the MVP camp both in business and in the PBA, Barrios said: "Eh hindi ko masasagot yan."
"Pero ang sinasabi ko, ang presidente will be elected from among the 25 board members, kung hindi ka member ng board, hindi ka magiging presidente at si Noli eh hindi member ng board of trustees," he added.
The former PBA commissioner also bared the SBP received an email from a certain Joel Enriquez who claims to lead a group of disgruntled SBP officials.
"Kaso sino ba 'yung Joel Enqriuez? Hindi naman siya kasali sa SBP plus his letter was not even signed," he said.
Barrios said the email contained two demands - for the holdover SBP leaders to step down and for Barrios and his assistant executive director Bernie Atienza to resign.
"Kaso, bakit hindi sila magpakilala. Kung talagang gusto nilang ipaabot ang hinaing nila, bakit dinadaan nila sa ganung sulat-sulat lang," he said. "Magpakilala sila at makipagbaliktaktakan sila sa amin."
"Gusto nila akong patanggal, ayaw nilang magpakilala sa akin, may problema tayo dun. Ngayon nga lang 'yang (lumabas na) problema, yung expired na (tenure) n MVP ng Pebrero, bakit hindi sila umiyak noon, bakit ngayon lang? Even the timing is defective," said Barrios.
Asked if the current SBP leadership has already done a 'loyalty check' among the ranks, Barrios nodded.
"Yes, I am confident of the support of the board. In fact, during the last meeting (on Thursday), may quorum kami. Of the 12 na hindi sumipot nung last meeting, nagpasabi 'yung iba na suporta nila," he said.
Among the members of the board of trustees present during the last meeting were Rey Gamboa, Paul Supan, Junel Baculi, Gil Cortez, Erick Arejola, Edil Abalos, Yayoy Alcoseba (through conference call), Bernie Atienza, Paul De Vera, Fr. Joseph Hao, Saturnino Belen of Batangas (representative) and Louie Juico of Tarlac.
Barrios also expressed confidence in the full support of absentees Louie Juico, Boy Cua of Davao and Robert Uy of Iloilo.
PBA chairman Robert Non and Commissioner Chito Narvasa also sent representatives to Monday's meeting in Willy Marcial and Rickie Santos.
Among the members of the SBP board who did not appear and did not answer calls of the SBP secretariat were Jay Adalem, Nic Jorge, Pete Alfaro, Vivian Manila (women's), Paul Dy, and Danny Soria.
"Nagka-quorum kami at sabi ko nga, hindi porket absent eh nag boycott na. May ibang tumawag at nag pa excuse."