Ok, so the new job has kept me from writing much about sports in the last many months. But the latest walkout of the Talk 'N Text team kinda gave me some motivation to at least put some thoughts on paper (or the web).
First off, I was part of the Mancom of the PBA Commissioner's Office for over a year when Noli Eala was running the show. It still is currently the usual suspects except that Sonny Barrios is now at the helm.
One thing that I remember from my Commissioner's Office experience is the frustration of trying to appease the team members in league related matters. The majority of the complaints was about officiating but it extended into marketing, hotel accomodations for out of town games, tv exposure, commentator's bias, and others.
The walkout was certainly not the first time Talk 'N Text has cried foul claiming unfairness. Throughout the whole Asi Taulava ordeal about his citizenship, TNT Management always felt that Noli was unfair with dissallowing their big man to play because of him not having the proper documentation. They even had the PNP ready to arrest the commissioner at one point with cops at the Araneta if he didn't allow Asi to play. They've protested the location of their bands, extent of cheering on court of their cheerleaders and other non basketball related matters which had guidelines from the start. I do admire the passion of their management to fight for their rights albeit sometimes misguided.
I know Chot Reyes to be an excellent coach. He is probably one of the best communicators practicing the profession. He got my vote when choosing a National Coach during my stint in the Commissioner's Office. But I do disagree with his (and TNT management's) decision to walk out of game 4 of the recently concluded quarterfinals series (won by Ginebra). I am not the aggrieved party so I can't fully understand the emotion involved as the pressure to win was very high. But my greivance is on the side of the fans. The games and its fans are the heart and soul of the league. The walkout deprived the fans of the games. Period. The games should always be sacred. It is after all, just a game. We talk of the fans being the lifeblood of the league and in this case it's absolutely true.
Now, complaints about officiating and unfairness abound. But I also know how hard the referees work at their craft. I've sat through some of their training and workshops. I don't know of any league where the players and coaches are 100 percent satisfied with the officiating. Referees make mistakes just as players and coaches do.
I guess I just needed to write about it since it was really a sad day in Philippine basketball when the walkout happened. Yeah, statistics were cited and maybe a few bad calls here and there. But that shouldn't even be close to merit any kind of walkout from any team. Why? Because everyone from the commissioner's office, to the coaches, to the owners, to the ballboys, to the players all do it for the fans. Anything that would deprive the fans of the games should be taken out of the equation. I'm pretty sure there was no public sympaty or empathy for that matter with the walkout because it was not only the commissioner's office who had to deal with it but the fans themselves.
This issue was between the TNT team and the PBA technical crew, so please leave the fans out of it.