February 8, 2008
Mr. Teodoro L. Locsin
Manila Standard Today
Attention: Miss Adelle Chua Tulagan, Editor, Opinion
cc. Mr. Francis S. Lagniton, News Editor
Mr. Riera U. Mallari, Sports Editor
I read with much interest Mr. Ronnie Nathanielsz’s column entitled “What quiet life?” which came out in your paper last February 5, 2008.
Mr. Nathanielsz has so eloquently written that I was rebuffed by FIBA president Bob Elphinston over my “penchant” for organizing “miscellaneous tournaments without the proper sanction (underscoring mine) by the Basketball Association of the Philippines - Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas…”
True, Mr. Elphinston’s letter asked me to refrain from organizing tournaments and to sort of toe the FIBA line, and his reply, which was copy-furnished to BAP-SBP Executive Director Patrick Gregorio, was immediately used by most newspapers as ammunition against me.
But isn’t it funny how we Filipinos readily jump in the mere say-so of a white man, hiding behind the cloak of authority, in this case the FIBA, without examining if there is merit in their pronouncements?
I actually e-mailed back Mr. Elphinston (I can give a copy to Mr. Nathanielsz if he wants one) and flatly told him that he has no business interfering with the league I am organizing (National City League) since this is not a sanctioned tournament by the FIBA. (For Mr. Nathanielsz’s information, not all basketball tournaments in the world are sanctioned by FIBA. Europe League basketball, for example, has broken away from FIBA and holds its own tournaments).
Additionally, the BAP does not need any sanction from the BAP-SBP nor do I need to inform them of my intention to hold local tournaments.
Why? Does Mr. Gregorio inform the BAP of his plans to hold tournaments, propose mergers (such as the failed UAAP-NCAA merger) and his many activities?
The last time I checked, the Philippines is a democratic country, and any one with good intentions can hold and conduct any activity, sports-related or otherwise.
Besides, I don’t ask money from Mr. Gregorio and the BAP-SBP so why is the BAP-SBP and its minions (I hope Mr. Nathanielsz does not qualify as one) froth in the mouth if I organize tournaments? Since Mr. Nathnielsz is all-knowing, perhaps, he could advise me all and sundry when will BAP-SBP going to organize its first ever challenge.
Mr. Nathanielsz also accused former Congressman Prospero “Butch” Pichay of accepting the BAP presidency “to ride on it for personal benefit and publicity,” while at the same time praising Mr. Manny Pangilinan as someone who would “provide integrity and decency at the highest level” in the BAP-SBP.
I do not question Mr. Nathanielsz’s own personal judgment, but I doubt very much if he truly knows the true character of both Mr. Pichay and Mr. Pangilinan. You see, one can criticize and praise a person, but the criticism and praise oftentimes are clouded with bias or some other considerations.
What bothers me about Mr. Nathanielsz’s judgment of Mr. Pichay is the way he adopt the herd mentality which accuses all politicians in sports as publicity-hungry and in his own words, have “ruined Philippine sports because of their desire not really to help develop and grow a particular sport.”
Curiously, Mr. Nathanielsz’s statements echo that of other columnists and writers who have taken the cudgel for the “esteemed” Mr. Pangilinan. I just wonder why.
Of course, Mr. Pichay is a politician, but as a sports leader, he did not “ruin” a sport, but in fact, helped nurture chess in this country. Under his leadership in the national chess association, the country has produced three grandmasters in a span of four months, something that most national sports association leaders have failed to accomplish in years. Mr. Pichay is a proven winner, and we need somebody like him in basketball.
If Mr. Pichay desires to head the BAP-SBP in the future, what is wrong with this? The BAP-SBP, whose merger ended last February 5, will soon conduct an election and anyone, even Mr. Pangilinan, can run for the top post if he wishes to. So why prevent Mr. Pichay if he wishes to run? As I’ve said, this is a free country, or have Mr. Nathanielz forgotten that?
Or maybe the right question is, why are you afraid of Mr. Pichay?
Lastly, I thank Mr. Nathanielsz for sympathizing with my plight with regards to my impending deportation. Like me, Mr. Nathanielsz is not a pure-blooded Filipino and is a Sri Lankan by birth, but has been adopted by this country which made him a full-pledged Filipino, thanks to his well-meaning friends, who I’m sure include some politicians.
Mr. Nathanielsz is truly fortunate. The Philippines has been good to him, while in my case, I have yet to be fully embraced by this country which I have served with honor and dignity.
Very truly yours
GRAHAM C. LIM cc. Cong. Luis R. Villafuerte
Secretary General BAP Chairman and BAP-SBP Chairman
Cong. Prospero A. Pichay Jr. President, BAP