TOKYO – It’s no secret that new PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao are friends.
But that friendship is set to take a backseat now that two persons known to be very professional end up in a collision course - the biggest critic of officiating in the PBA and a former coach whose main job now as commissioner is to improve and defend league officiating.
Since assuming the post vacated by Chito Salud, Narvasa said he has already talked with Guiao on several occasions where the Rain or Shine coach even encouraged him to just do his job.
“Magkaibigan kami at nagkakausap naman kami. Sabi niya, ‘Pare, do what you have to do and I’ll do what I have to do.’ Pero sabi pa niya, asahan mo tutulungan pa rin kita,” said Narvasa of his conversation with the outspoken coach, who is also congressman of the first district of Pampanga.
“Matagal na kaming magkaibigan niyan e. Nagkakaintindihan kami as professionals, nagkakaintindihan din kami as friends.”
The son of the late Chief Justice Andres Narvasa has made officiating the top priority of his young commissionership, especially after seeing up close how it has become the major issue for most coaches and players.
He knows it’s not going to be easy, but vows to do the best he can to address the problem.
“There has to be some order restored. Sabi ko nga, I’ll take the cue from my late father. I will put order in the court,” Narvasa said smiling.
He already had his apprenticeship during the entire season-ending Governors Cup when he watched most of the games at ringside sitting beside Salud, who gave him pointers and advice pertaining to officiating.
And he’s aware the job is cut out for him especially having to deal with the likes of Guiao, Norman Black, Tim Cone, Jong Uichico, Leo Austria, and even Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua, with whom he went up against during his time as coach of both Purefoods and Shell.
“We understand each other. I don’t foresee that happening (clashing with each other), kasi alam nila ako at alam ko din naman sila,” said Narvasa, like Guiao a former president of the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines (BCAP). Chua is the current BCAP head.
“I will be fair, but I will also be very firm.”
Still, it’s his association with Guiao that is expected to be tested in his first year as league commissioner.
For someone who has known the temperamental coach for a long time, Narvasa describes Guiao as someone who’s very passionate about the game.
“Si Yeng pagdating sa basketball talagang basketball. Walang pagkakaibigan diyan. Pero after the game, kaibigan iyan. Nagkakaintindihan kami sa basketball,” said Narvasa, who served as UAAP commissioner in 2007 and 2008.
The former banker said he already told Guiao to be the same person critical of the officiating – for a reason of course.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya ganito: “Pareng Yeng mas kaibigan niya ko kaysa kay Chito Salud. Sasama loob ko kapag lumiit ang contribution niya,” he said laughing, obviously referring to the huge fines Guiao had to pay during Salud’s time as commissioner.
“Dapat mas malaki contribution niya sa akin. Pinakuha ko na mga fines ni coach Yeng. Kailangan next year malaki contribution niya sa akin. I-mo-monitor ko iyon,” he added.