FORMER Philippine Basketball League (PBL) commissioner Chino Trinidad slammed the PBA’s slow handling of the probe that led to the suspension on NLEX main man Asi Taulava, saying the short notice put the Road Warriors at a clear disadvantage in their next game.
Trinidad, a veteran sports commentator and reporter, revealed that during his time at the helm of the country’s top amateur commercial league, he made it a point to give teams atleast 48 hours to prepare if ever a suspension will be handed down on players.
In the case of Taulava, NLEX received a memo on the summon for Taulava and a warning of possible sanctions on Monday - a good three days after the Friday game where the 6-9 former MVP was assessed a technical foul for a slap on San Miguel forward David Semerad.
Taulava was summoned to appear before Commissioner Chito Narvasa on Tuesday afternoon and the suspension was handed down later that day - just 24 hours before a game against Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday.
“Hindi ka pwedeng mag-suspend ng ganun, binibigyan mo dapat ng ample time to prepare ang team," said Trinidad. "Ang tagal ng review nila, dapat ang review nila is instantaneous.
“Kami sa PBL dati, immediately after the game may review, pero nire-review na namin as we go along (during the game). Kasi any infraction, you allow a team to prepare for at least 48 hours for a game, hindi mo pwedeng ibigay ang suspension mo ng 24 hours prior,” he added.
The straight-talking former PBA commentator said the time given NLEX to adjust to Taulava's absence was simply too short.
“Twenty-four hours ba 'yan (announcement) prior? Kelan ba sinabing suspended? Kagabi? Mali 'yun. NLEX can raise hell, they were not given ample time. At least 24 hours, sa amin (sa PBL) 48 hours kasi,” said the son of veteran Inquirer sports columnist Recah Trinidad.
“Bibigyan mo ng ample time ang team to prepare. How can they prepare, lalo pa yan, key player yan, well, whether it’s a key player or not, you have to give the teams more time to adjust. Sabog talaga 'yan, dapat immediately after pa lang sinabi na,” he said.
And who is to blame for the delay?
“Ano ba problema ni Chito Narvasa dyan? Saan? Yung techncial committee nya saan nagkulang? Sa review ba? Ang commissioner, I don’t know if he reviews the game himself, pero siya mismo umuupo (sa ringside during games), di ba? Siya na mismo nakakita ng incident, dapat dun pa lang sinabihan na nya,” he said.
“Ganun din kay (former PBA commissioner) Chito Salud dati, review agad siya the next day, dapat ganun talaga eh, pero syempre, kanya kanyang pagpapatakbo ng liga 'yan eh,” he said.
Regardless of the process, NLEX was clearly affected by the delay, Trinidad said.
“They put NLEX at a disadvantage because teams have to be given sufficient time to prepare for a game, same thing that they will have to prepare for a game with a suspended player,” added Trinidad.
The man behind Pilipinas HD, the country's newest cable channel, also did not agree with how the matter was handled by the PBA, whose official website only made public the details of the sanction late Tuesday night.
SPIN.ph sources also bared the summon for Taulava was only delivered to him shortly after NLEX’s afternoon practice on Tuesday, where the teams finalized their game plan for Wednesday night’s game against Ginebra.
“Too late na yan talaga eh para gawin nila ang suspension. Sa akin, kahit saan mo balibaligtarin yan, you don’t have to run a league to understand na bibigyan mo ng time ang teams to adjust to situations. Walang pagkakaiba 'yan sa preparations nila (before the conference started, walang schedule na narelease). Sabit talaga siya dito, malaking ano yan, it put NLEX at risk,” he said.
Asked what NLEX can do to protest or challenge the decision, Trinidad had some reservations.
“Wala na silang magagawa dyan, they can cry to high heavens, pero they will have to communicate to the commissioner na hindi pwedeng ganitong sitwasyon, itong sitwasyon na to, kailangan hindi ito precedent setting,” said Trinidad.
Listen to full interview of Chino Trinidad: