THE PBA is planning to make good use of the week-long break the league will take during the next two windows of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this year.
By organizing two exhibition games pitting two of the league’s great rivalries from the past for the benefit of ailing former pro players.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said he plans to offer the open playing days to a group of PBA legends who want to stage fund-raising games pitting retired players from rival teams Ginebra and Purefoods and Alaska against San Miguel.
Retired players led by former MVPs Atoy Co, Ramon Fernandez, Allan Caidic, Philip Cezar, Alvin Patrimonio, among others, are set to sit down and discuss with Marcial the charity game within the week.
“Puwedeng gawin yun during the FIBA World Cup qualifier habang naka-break yung liga. Yun ang isa-suggest ko sa kanila. At least kahit walang laro, andiyan pa rin ang PBA. Bahala na sila kung papayag sila dun,” he said.
Co and other league legends met recently to put up a foundation that will try to raise funds and address the needs of former PBA players.
Others who joined them in their initial meeting were Jojo Lastimosa, Kenneth Duremdes, Art dela Cruz, Ed Cordero, and Pido Jarencio.
Living Legend and former Senator Robert Jaworski Sr. has also extended his support to the group.
“Tulungan natin yung mga dating players na nagkasakit,” said Jarencio in a SPIN.ph interview. “Basta mga ex-PBA players, magkakaroon ng fundraising para makatulong sa kanila.”
The group is planning to put up several fundraising projects that could also involve other sports such as golf and billiards, although the foundation wants to focus more on basketball charity games.
In the planning stage is the exhibition game between Ginebra versus Purefoods that will see the likes of Marlou Aquino, Bal David, EJ Feihl, Vince Hizon, Noli Locsin, Jarencio, EJ Feihl, and Wilmer Ong going up against Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Dindo Pumaren, Rey Evangelista, Glenn Capacio, Bong Ravena, and Edmund Reyes.
The grand slam teams of the 1989 San Miguel squad could also play its 1996 counterparts at Alaska or pit the two ballclubs that feature Lastimosa, Johnny Abarrientos, Bong Hawkins, Jeff Cariaso, Poch Juinio, Duremdes, Gilbert Reyes, and Dickie Bachmann for the Aces opposite Danny Ildefonso, Danny Seigle, Olsen Racela, Dondon Hontiveros, Nic Belasco, and Freddie Abuda for the Beermen.
“Marami silang puwedeng gawin. Kung gusto nila yung Ginebra-Purefoods nung time nila Senator Jaworski and Chito Loyzaga against Purefoods nila ‘Kap,’” said Marcial. “Lahat yan susuportahan ng PBA.”
Former pros Joey Mente, Boybits Victoria, and cage legend Samboy Lim are among those currently needing medical aid.