SAN Miguel Corp. announced on Thursday that it has assigned consultant for basketball operations Noli Eala to another job within the company that will effectively take him out of the day-to-day running of the three PBA teams under the company's umbrella.
According to a statement released by SMC to media outlets, Eala has been assigned "to help out in the company’s infrastructure businesses as various projects are now either in full swing or at the development stages."
The "re-assignment" will leave Eala out of the operations of SMC-owned clubs Barangay Ginebra, San Mig Coffee, and Petron amid a storm triggered by Gin Kings coach Alfrancis Chua's decision to step down.
SMC officials have also confirmed to Spin.ph that the 're-assignment' will also take Eala out of his current role with the company's ballclub in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Eala has taken a lot of heat from netizens who have blamed the former PBA commissioner for what they felt were ill-advised moves that have been detrimental to the company's three teams.
The former broadcaster took to Twitter on Tuesday to defend himself from online bashers, saying his "haters are barking up the wrong tree." (For full story, see As quit clamor grows, Eala insists bashers are 'barking up wrong tree')
The statement said: "SMC assures the public, particularly its basketball fans, that the operations of its basketball teams will continue to run smoothly despite Eala’s new role in the organization."
The company also announced that it has accepted Chua's request for a leave of absence, leaving the door open for a possible return to Ginebra.