Why not send winner of on-going PBA Commissioner’s Cup to Asiad? –Jaworski
By Eddie Alinea
05 Aug 2018
It’s final, Basketball Australia won’t appeal the bans the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) meted on its three players as a result of the mass brawl with their Filipino counterparts during a World Cup qualifier game held in Manila early last month.
Would the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas follow such a class act taken as a respect to the world ruling body for the sport’s decision?
The SBP late July, in announcing it is withdrawing the country’s participation from basketball in the coming Asian Games in Indonesia, gave as reason it did so to, among others, prepare for an appeal it was planning on behalf of 10 Filipino players and two coaches who were, likewise penalized.
A chair was hurled and punches were thrown during the ugly melee which resulted in 13 players and two coaches being suspended, and both national federations being fined.
Of those 13 players banned, three were Australians. Thon Maker, who plays for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, received a three-game suspension for FIBA qualifiers, while Daniel Kickert was given a five-game punishment and Chris Goulding was handed a one-match ban.
Basketball Australia has decided against challenging those sanctions, and a 100,000 CHF fine, via the official appeal process.
"Our legal advice examined a range of appeal options," chief executive Anthony Moore said in a statement posted on Basketball Australia's website.
"However, the chances of success under the FIBA appeal process are very low so we have decided to pursue these matters with FIBA independent of the appeal process.
The SBP decision to cancel the country’s participation from what is acknowledged as the Olympic Games this part of the world drew condemnation from past and present local sports officials and athletes as well as plain citizens on the streets as, to say the least, could invite sanction from the Olympic Council of Asia (formerly Asian Games Federation).
Among those who expressed fears the country’s standing in the region’s sports community might be jeopardized by the SBP decision to not take part in basketball competition in the coming Asiad were ex-Philippine Commission chair and back-to-back Southeast Asian Games Most Outstanding Male Athlete Eric Buhain, Philippine Olympic Committee executive board member Robert Mananquil, and former national players Jimmy Mariano, Freddie Webb., Jimmy Manansala, Felix Flores, Orly Castelo and Chito Bugia.
Local basketball’s ‘living legend’ Robert “Sonny” Jaworski and fellow basketball greats Fortunato ”Atoy” Co and Ramon Fernandez and ex-PH player Fritz Gaston joined Buhain and company in denouncing the decision.
Jaworski, popularly known, too, as the ”Big J” or “Jawo,” dismissed the SBP justification of its action that due to time constraint, selection of team members, coaches and other officials would be difficult, the Asiad being barely three weeks away (by the time the decision was made).
“We still have plenty of qualified players to select from,” the former playing-coach of the popular Barangay Ginebra in the PBA said. “San Miguel Beer and Ginebra are fighting for the championship of the Commissioner’s Cup, which will end a little more than a week before the Asiad starts on August 18.”
“If we want cohesiveness and chance to be competitive, we can send whoever will win the on-going tournament, reinforced it with some players from the runner up team and presto, the winnability is there, too.”
“We think of complications in preparations to achieve cohesion, teamwork. But what about our relations with our neighboring Asian countries and other complications that may arise from withdrawing?” Jaworski asked.
“And the lost opportunity to those who, for all we know, could represent the country better than those who were suspended? Can we not put together 12-15 players that may not win in the scoreboard but win the admiration of their opponents with the proper decorum and other valued traits as a competitor and a worthy Filipino ambassadors of goodwill and brotherhood?”
Have they ever thought of the disappointment and frustration of the host country and other participating nations? The organising committees who have already completed groupings and other related aspects as accommodation transportation services etc.?”
‘Sports is the most followed show window of character and traits as a representative of one country and people towards enhancing brotherhood, goodwill and peace amongst nations. That goes beyond race, color, religion,” the Big J stressed.
“Therefore we must quantify the negative international implications of not participating , especially after being penalised for an unfortunate and intolerable incident, during a qualifying basketball game and as the host country vs Australia” he said.
The former senator recalled a time when the Philippines was suspended by FIBA for disunity, misrepresentations and perceived violation of the FIBA charter. And it took a lot of effort and assurance and time, before the request for the lifting of the sanctions was granted.
“The most important matter that must not be forgotten is that this participation and the many other participations are for Filipinas, the country, and its people and those entrusted with the challenge must be circumspect in all that they do say and do,” he emphasized,” he relayed.
Atoy, for his part, said the SBP must have forgotten the Philippine’s rich history in the Asian Games and Asian Basketball Confederation, which the Filipinos used to dominate in their early years, winning four straight Asiad titles from 1951 till 1962 and five ABC plums since its inception in 1960.
”Even to this day, many of our Asian neighbors considered us as the world’s basketball capital in Asia dahil nga sa ating mayamang tradisyon and because the shoot-and-dribble game is still our nation’s favourite pastime,” Atoy asserted.
Fernandez believes the SBP should have proceeded in sending Rain of Shine to the Asiad. “It seems we got hit by the 1-2 punch. Basketball is the most followed event in any of the competitions. People would have understood whatever outcome in the games, It’s cop out!”
Gaston, who until las year was a Game and Amusement Board member, said what saddened him was the withdrawal was made in retaliation of FIBA’s suspension of 10 national players involved in the melee.
“Knock on wood, sana naman hindi tayo ma-suspend as many feared dahil sa dami na ng ating kasalanan,” Gaston said singling out a case when the Philippines lost an Asian Games assignment a few years ago when naturalized player intentionally made a shot in the wrong basket on instruction of coach Chot Reyes in a futile attempt for the team to advance to the next round taken as tantamount to game-fixing.
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