RUMOR: A majority bloc in the PBA board led by teams from the MVP group is moving to oust Chito Narvasa from his post as commissioner.
FACTS: No thanks to a questionable trade that somehow got the approval of the Commissioner's Office, the battle lines are now drawn in the PBA board and insiders expect a dogfight among representatives of the 12 member ballclubs in the next few days.
At stake? The future of Commissioner Chito Narvasa.
Narvasa's decision to approve, with minor revisions, the deal that sent KIA's No. 1 pick overall to SMB for benchwarmers and a future draft pick not only rocked what was already an uneasy relationship among the 12 member teams, but it also angered a majority bloc of owners that now wants him out.
It was no surprise that the MVP group is leading the move to oust him. Narvasa - in the course of justifying his decision - bared it was an official of the MVP organization's flagship TNT team who filed Standhardinger's draft application. The group understandably didn't appreciate the insinuation, calling it a 'futile and pathetic attempt (of Narvasa) to take the spotlight off him.'
The MVP group didn't find it hard to seek out allies either. Both Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu and Blackwater's Dioceldo Sy had strongly condemned the trade while multiple sources bared Rain or Shine and Phoenix have also backed the move, making it seven ballclubs against Narvasa.
Sources revealed representatives from the seven teams already met informally on Monday and agreed to call for a board meeting on Thursday, precisely to decide Narvasa's fate before the league governors leave for Los Angeles on November 10 for their annual planning session.
However, removing Narvasa from his position may be easier said than done, insiders revealed.
The former banker and PBA coach, sources bared, enjoys the support of the three teams under the San Miguel Corp. bloc as well as SMC ally GlobalPort and, of course, KIA.
Although in the minority, the group nonetheless believes the five votes may be enough to keep Narvasa in his position - thanks to a 'gray area' in the league's by-laws.
Here's the score:
According to the MVP group, Narvasa's contract as commissioner is renewed before the start of every season, provided it is approved by a simple majority in the league board. Therefore, seven teams rejecting an extension, the group believes, should be enough to end Narvasa's tenure.
However, sources said the rival faction insists that any move to oust Narvasa must go through a vote of confidence, where, under league rules, a two-thirds vote (eight teams) is required to remove a sitting commissioner. Without a two-thirds vote to oust Narvasa, the bloc will insist that his contract should be automaticaly renewed, the source added.
That may well be the bone of contention if and when the Thursday meeting pushes through.
Still, a number of league insiders agreed that even if the move to remove Narvasa doesn't succeed now, his position as commissioner has already become untenable after the Uytengsu and Sy tirades as well as the 'declaration of war' by the MVP group over the events surrounding the KIA-San Miguel trade.
""A commissioner must enjoy the full trust and confidence of the entire league membership,"" one board member said on condition of anonymity. ""Narvasa, clearly, has lost that.""
On what will happen next depends on that crucial board meeting.
One insider said the board may either agree to give Narvasa an 'honorable way out' or, at the most, a short extension. But a full one-year contract is likely out of the question, he added.