CHINO Trinidad is non-committal about an offer from University of the East to return to basketball and become the UAAP commissioner beginning next season, admitting major reforms are needed to ease the college league's perennial problems on officiating.
Long mentioned among those being eyed for the job, the former Philippine Basketball League commissioner confirmed that he has been approached by the school’s bigwigs including former PBL team owner Bong Tan to run the league's coming basketball tournament.
“Ako, ayoko na bumalik sa basketball but Bong Tan, being one of the owners who helped me in the PBL, pinuntahan ko siya,” Trinidad told Spin.ph on the sidelines of the PSA Forum on Tuesday where he talked about his ‘Pagpupugay’ project, which honors Filipino sports greats.
While stressing that he is still undecided, Trinidad admitted the challenge of doing something to solve the problems hounding the league in particular and basketball in general still interests him.
“Sa ngayon, non-committal pa ako. Pero the other part is kung kailangan ng tulong ang basketball, baka ito ‘yung time na bumalik ako,” Trinidad said.
Still, Trinidad said he is having second thoughts because of the problems that come with being the UAAP commissioner.
For one, the veteran GMA sportscaster said he has received several negative feedbacks from previous UAAP commissioners about the bad experience they encountered while handling the basketball tournament.
“The past commissioners, these are the people that I respect so much pero pagkalabas nila, ang sasabihin nila, ‘Sakit sa ulo’ and ‘Never again.’ Do I want to risk what I built, ‘yung name ko, for this one? Maraming bagay na pinag-iisipan ko pa,” Trinidad said.
But if he does accept the offer, Trinidad singled out officiating as the one area he wants to address and improve.
Trinidad said the root of the problem lies in the UAAP system of letting the host school appoint the commissioner on a yearly basis, depriving the programs to improve officiating any semblance of continuity.
UE has yet to appoint a commissioner for this year with the July 12 opening fast approaching, although league sources told Spin.ph that the league board has recently agreed to give the commissioner more power and a minimum three-year term.
“Ang problema talaga sa UAAP is officiating. Taon-taon kasi iba 'yung programa,” said Trinidad, who is also one of the columnists of Spin.ph.
“UAAP would set the demands. I would have to set my own demands. Kasi to reform the officiating in the UAAP and how the tournament is being run, hindi mo siya makukuha ng isang buwan. It would take years."
Trinidad said having a permanent set of referees in the UAAP, as well as the use of video replays during games, which he had during his reign as PBL commissioner, will improve officiating in the league.
“One thing I regret to this day is that ‘yung programa namin sa PBL, parang itinapon ko na. We were on to something. Before the NBA used replays, meron na kami 'nun,” Trinidad said.
“Madaling magsalita ngayon kasi I’m out of it, pero kita mo ‘yung bagsak ng officiating. One thing na I want to teach people is the right way to officiate a game. Hindi ko sinasabi na ako ang nakakaalam ng lahat but I know how to put a team together, and use technology as a tool not just to monitor games but to correct it.
“‘Yun ang turo sa akin ni Levi Valenzula, who is still one of the top referees today. If you want to put the game in proper order, ‘yan ang susi,” Trinidad added.
Trinidad added that he is also weighing the demands the job of a UAAP commissioner will have on his time, as he is also a television reporter while spearheading a couple of projects.