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    Wondering why Cone, Black can coach in the PBA and Purves can't? Here's why

    Feb 21, 2014
    Todd Purves, Tim Cone and Norman Black will be coaching in the PBA in the Commissioner's Cup, although Purves' official designation is as "active consultant." Jerome Ascano

    STILL wondering why San Miguel Beer can't appoint Todd Purves as head coach when Talk 'N Text and San Mig have Norman Black and Tim Cone, respectively, calling the shots for their teams?

    Here's why.

    The Court of Appeals came down with a ruling five years ago favoring a petition by the Basketball Coaches of the Philippines (BCAP), barring foreign coaches from taking up PBA head-coaching positions which the court ruled can be competently performed by local coaches.

    The ruling, which became final and executory when it went uncontested in the Supreme Court, was a landmark victory for the BCAP which for years fought the appointments of foreign coaches like Ron Jacobs (San Miguel), Bill Bayno, and Bob Woolpert (Talk 'N Text), insisting these coaches were taking away jobs from Filipinos.

    Because of the ruling, coaching in the PBA now falls under Article 40 of the Labor Code which states that working permits can only be issued "after a determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired."

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    According to longtime BCAP president Chito Narvasa, the coaches group made a couple of exceptions to this rule, noting that it won't oppose appointments of foreign coaches with enough experience and knowledge which they could pass on to Filipino coaches in a "transfer of technology" set-up.

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    Among those qualified for exemptions under this clause are former NBA head coaches and coaches in the US NCAA Division 1 who have steered their teams to the Final Four.

    Narvasa also pointed out that the job of national coach doesn't fall under the ruling since the position is "temporary" and therefore has a time limit. That's the reason why BCAP did not contest the appointment of Rajko Toroman as the coach of the first Gilas team.

    However, Toroman ran into problems with labor laws when he was tapped to coach Petron and later Barako Bull - the same situation Purves found himself in now as he took over the helm at Petron.

    Since both are considered non-resident aliens, Toroman and Purves are required to gain work permits from the Department of Labor to be able to coach in the PBA.

    However, neither could get a permit because of the Court of Appeals ruling, leaving their teams no recourse but to appoint them as "consultants" - a 'linear' function which Narvasa admitted doesn't fall under the rule.

    Although Narvasa said San Miguel/Petron and Barako Bull were obviously "skirting the law" with the appointment of Toroman and Purves to consultant positions, he said the BCAP is helpless to stop the practice.

    But how about Black and Cone, you might ask.

    Well, both Black and Cone have gained permanent resident status since they are married to Filipinas. In fact, Cone, who initially faced opposition from the BCAP during his early years with Alaska, and Black do not even need to get work permits from the DOLE as permanent residents.

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    Todd Purves, Tim Cone and Norman Black will be coaching in the PBA in the Commissioner's Cup, although Purves' official designation is as "active consultant." Jerome Ascano
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