BASKETBALL legend Ramon Fernandez had mixed emotions upon learning about the plan to put the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex up for sale.
“Aba? ganun ba?” was Fernandez’s initial reaction when he learned of the plan to sell the complex.
“Well, I guess, urbanization has caught up everywhere. But for as long as they can come up with other venues or necessary improvement, that (being sold) would be alright,” said the 59-year-old many-time member of the national team.
Fernandez recalled jogging during the early mornings around the complex as a 19-year-old lanky big man while he and other members of the Philippine team were preparing to defend the country’s ABC men’s championship (forerunner of Fiba Asia) in 1973 in Manila.
The RP men’s team that year boasted of a talented bunch led by Fernandez, Sonny Jaworski, Manny Paner, Jimmy Mariano and Tembong Melencio, which took the title via a 10-game sweep of the Asian showpiece on home hurf.
Philippine Olympic Committee head Peping Cojuangco has broached the idea of selling the complex, with the proceeds going to the construction of a more modern complex, perhaps in Clark in Angeles City.
Fernandez, however, said that if it is possible that a new national sports complex can be built without having to sell the Rizal complex, it would be a win-win for Philippine sports.
Considering the rich heritage of the decades-old complex, the four-time PBA MVP hopes sports authorities would make every effort to preserve it and perhaps refurbish it.
“Sa heritage part, sana hindi ma-benta. Mas maganda. Kailangan i-refurbish siguro and keep the old mystique of the place. Gawin sigurong museum or pang-special event,” said the cage icon.