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List of Articles by Eddie Alinea


 

The punch that led to reforms in PBA officiating

By Eddie Alinea
PhilBoxing.com
13 Apr 2010

Nikki Coseteng grew up in the shadow of his father’s passion for sports, basketball in particular, to which she too fell in love with.

So that when businessman-sportsman Emerson Coseteng, the founding president of the Philippine Basketball Association, joined his Creator, the chore of managing the family-owned Mariwasa team in the country’s and Asia’s first professional league fell on her shoulder. “It was a very memorable and fruitful experience which I will forever cherish,” Coseteng, a former Senator, said in the gathering of sportswriters in the weekly SCOOP Sa Kamayan weekly session a the Kamayan Restaurant-Padre Faura.

“Memorable because it earned for me the distinction of being the first woman to ever own and manage a basketball team in the first ever professional league in he league. A distinction that has never been duplicated up to this present time,” she said in the ACCEL-sponsored forum.

“Fruitful because I believe I have contributed something to the growth of the sport my father loved so much. And I’m very happy that besides Emerson Coseteng, Nikki Coseteng has been instrumental, like the other pioneers who started the league, in making the PBA last this long,” she said.

“Thirty five years. And to think that very few people believed then that we would see the celebration of the PBA’s 35th anniversary,” Coseteng added with a twinkle in her eyes.

“Napakarami kong naging magandang karanasan naging puhunan ko ito to lead a life after the PBA,” Coseteng, who despite spending 55 summers is still a stunner, reminisced.

One of the biggest contributions she made to the league, she recalled, was the institutions of several reforms in terms of officiating.

“Ang nakakatawa at talagang hindi ko malilimutan, it all started with a swing at one of the referees that officiated in one of Mariwasa games.

“We were playing powerhouse Crispa and leading by three points with only seven seconds left. Natalo kami at the end because of what I considered a stupid call,” Coseteng, who took over managing the team in 1983, recalled.

“Although our coach, (the late) Tito Eduque, a gentleman through and through, was pacifying me, saying it was all part of the game, galit ako talaga,” she said.

“So inabangan ko yung referee na tumawag on the way to the dugout, confronted him and took a punch at him hitting him on his face. Everybody was stunned at what happened. Yung mga photographers nga hindi nakakuha,” she said.

The incident, she continued, led though to several meetings of the board towards aimed at improving the officiating.

“Galit na galit ang board, sabi nga ni Leo (the late founding commissioner Leo Prieto) if a woman at that was forced to do something like punching a referee, something’s really wrong with the officiating,” Coseteng, who now owns the Diliman Preparatory School, recalled.

Commenting on the current officiating after seeing the first game of Friday’s doubleheader between San Miguel Beer and Barako Coffee where she also appeared as guest at the Astrodome later in the day, she said it stands a lot of improvement.

“I noticed that coaches and players of both teams kept complaining on the calls almost all throughout the game, so something must be wrong that needs to be addressed.”

“Pero hindi ko i-a-advice sinuman na gumamit ng dahas, like punching someone, she said jestingly whether she would again swing at a referee if she still manages a team.

“Kasi ngayon advanced na ang technology. Me mga tape na silang nire-review kung may maling tawag. Di tulad noon, hindi instant, kailangan pag-mitingan ng board,” she observed.

Joining her as guests last Friday were then Mariwasa players Mark Arriola, Lucrecio Dacula, Jimmy Mariano, Ulysses Rodriguez and Edmundo Tierra and Boysie Henares, Alfonso “Boy” Mora, Jaime Noblezada, Ramon Lucindo, Lim Eng Beng, who played against each other in the very first game of the pro-league on April 9, 1975.

(Eddie Alinea is the Sports Editor of www.sportsmanila.com)


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