TOKYO – Incoming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Chito Narvasa already hinted about focusing his attention on improving league officiating right in his first season in office.
New chairman Robert Non of San Miguel and the other team governors had informal talks with Narvasa while the group was at the pre-departure area of the NAIA Terminal 2 on Sunday before leaving for the Japanese capital for the board’s annual planning session at the Tokyo Hilton Shinjuku.
“Officiating, more or less, was discussed, as well as some other matters he would like to bring up with the board later on,” said Non, who was also league chairman during the 2012-13 season while still with Barangay Ginebra.
Since being appointed as successor to outgoing commissioner Chito Salud, Narvasa had been a regular fixture in almost every games of the season-ending Governors Cup, monitoring and observing how plays in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league has evolved through the years since he left basketball as head coach of Formula Shell in 1998.
Officiating had been one of the most common complaints among team officials and Narvasa, the former president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP), was quick to take notice.
Narvasa’s assumption of the commissionership paves the way for official start of the league’s corporate set-up, with Salud now holding the dual positions of PBA president and CEO.
Aside from Non, the new officers of the board include GlobalPort’s Erick Arejola as vice-chairman and NLEX’s Ramoncito Fernandez as treasurer.
Also attending the meeting are board members Dickie Bachmann of Alaska, Star’s Rene Pardo, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Mert Mondragon of Rain or Shine, Kia’s Tom Alvarez, Manny Alvarez of Barako Bull, Meralco’s Al Panlilio, Wilbert Loa of Blackwater, and outgoing chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text.
Non also praised Gregorio for making the recently-concluded 40th season a vibrant one with the entry of expansion franchises Blackwater and KIA Motors that brought to a record 12 the league’s member teams.
It was also under Gregorio’s watch that the PBA registered a record-breaking season opener at the Philippine Arena, the recruitment of Asian imports in the Governors Cup, and the production of a well-researched documentary chronicling four decades of the league as the country’s top sports entertainment.
That’s exactly what Non wants to keep in his second tab as league chairman.
“Huwag nating kalimutan ang produkto, kumbaga,” he said. “We’ve long envisioned the PBA as a way of life for the Filipinos and we would like to sustain that attitude by giving the fans what they crave and have come to expect from the PBA, which are quality games and better interaction with players.”