BARELY a conference into his PBA chairmanship, Ramon Segismundo has a lot to smile about.
A Philippine Cup playoffs that featured the best-attended game in league history and a Game Six in the Finals that topped the television ratings game all point to another banner year for the pro league under the helm of the Meralco board representative.
“For me, this is beyond basketball … this is really meant to uplift our country’s development,” said the soft-spoken Segismundo. “We want to have a really world-class league. We could do this by having more teams, more fans and a broad team ownership base."
Meralco's senior vice-president for Human Resources and Corporate Services has turned into the pro league's top pitchman as he, one by one, ticks off the items on his eight-point plan which he set out to accomplish when he assumed the chairmanship last year.
At the top of his agenda is the expansion of the league's current roster of 10 teams - a goal that took a giant stride on Thursday night over the news that Blackwater Sports has been cleared to make a formal Letter of Intent to become the PBA's first expansion team in 14 years.
Segismundo has also bared that aside from the Dioceldo Sy-owned Blackwater team, there are also two other "serious bidders" for PBA franchises.
Segismundo, though, was quick to deflect the credit for the great gains the league has made in his first conference in charge, paying tribute to the work of Commissioner Chito Salud as well as the other members of the board, specifically treasurer Pato Gregorio.
“I am being assisted by incumbent treasurer Pato Gregorio. One of the reasons why I am able to do more is my partnership and collaboration with him,” said Segismundo of Maynilad's senior vice president and Smart Sports head who is also Talk 'N Text's alternate governor.
Meanwhile, the workhorse PBA chairman has bared that he is now in deep talks with TV5 head Noel Lorenzana regarding the coverage of the games, which have come under fire from fans due to the limited reach of UHF channel Aksyon TV 41 and the often delayed airing of the matches on TV5.
“Regarding the TV coverage, I am now talking to Noel to ensure a better coverage in the future,” Segismundo said. “Ang kagandahan ng TV5 is it is in the same league as GMA and ABS-CBN.”
The Meralco governor also stressed that the ‘voices of the fans’ with regards to the TV coverage are being heard - and that the issues are being addressed by the league.
“It is being addressed. The solution may not happen overnight but Noel has given his assurance that they will work on it," said Segismundo.