February 5, 2005

PBA Philippine Cup Finals

How they got to the Finals:
Phone Pals: Beat Shell 3-0 in the Semi-Finals
Gin Kings: Beat San Miguel 3-2 in the Semi-Finals

The All-Filipino Cup recently renamed, as the Philippine Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the league calendar. Only Filipinos are allowed to play since there are no imports (this is an important fact).

However the excitement of the Finals series between the PLDT-owned franchise, the Talk n Text Phone Pals, and one of the four the San Miguel franchises, the Brgy. Ginebra Gin Kings, is overshadowed by the off the (playing) court tussle between the league and the Talk n Text management on the case of the 2003 Most Valuable player, Asi Taulava.

The Department of Justice said that Mr. Taulava is considered for deportation, and hence, the PBA suspended Taulava indefinitely from playing in the league. Mr. Taulava appealed the decision on the Quezon City RTC, saying he should play since it has not been proven that he is not a Filipino. While the case was being heard, the Phone Pals qualified in the Finals without the services of Mr. Taulava, totally overwhelming the Shell Turbo Chargers in 3 games in the semi-finals.

However, two days before the Finals series, the QC RTC issued a TRO, allowing Mr. Taulava to play. The Talk n Text management upheld the ruling and allowed Taulava to play in Game 1. The Ginebra team, meanwhile, said they’d protest the game if Taulava plays since he is still “suspended” by the league. Talk n Text blown away the first game of the Finals with the services of Taulava, but the PBA Commissioner Noli Eala, which was upheld by the PBA Board of Governors, overturned it. Brgy. Ginebra won the second game, with Taulava not playing by a solitary point. Talk n Text beat Ginebra in game 3, and the Gin Kings lead the best of seven series 2-1.

Who is right in this issue? Does the judge have any right on issuing the go signal to let Taulava play? Should the Talk n Text team allowed Taulava to play in Game 1?

The PBA is a private organization. Hence it can suspend and reinstate players in its own right. The courts can only intervene if the case is about the relations of the PBA with public (government) and other private corporations. The judge, the president of the Philippines, or even the UN secretary-general has no power on suspending and reinstating PBA players. Only the league itself or the mother team can suspend and reinstate players. On the issue of citizenship, the courts can decide on the matter, but Taulava questioned his suspension, and he did not ask for the affirmation of his Filipino citizenship, hence although the court can say he is (or not) a Filipino, it can not make Taulava play in the PBA by issuing a TRO.

Now on Game 1 being forfeited. Should the commissioner and the board of governors awarded the first game to Ginebra since Taulava, a suspended player, played? Or could they have done something else?

Nobody wants to win a game and lose it on the boardroom, or lose the game and win it via protest. What should have been done is that the first game is replayed, that is the game being played again without the player in question. In this case, we could have seen (or even judge) which was the better team without Taulava. It would have been fair to both sides, with Talk n Text not losing what was supposedly a won game, and Ginebra playing the game with all of the legal players.

This year’s Philippine Cup may be the most controversial in ages. Both teams want to win very badly. The prestigious tournament has seen the best basketball the league has to offer for its fans. But basketball is a game. And when play a game, we should play it fair.

1 comment:

  1. Ginebra won the series 3-2.

    Results by game:
    Game 1: Ginebra 71, Taln n Text 89 (Forfeited in favor of Ginebra)
    Game 2: Ginebra 106, Talk n Text 105
    Game 3: Talk n Text 102, Ginebra 66
    Game 4: Talk n Text 90, Ginebra 85
    Game 5: Ginebra 95, Talk n Text 85
    Game 6: Ginebra 96, Talk n Text 86


Comments are absolutely not moderated. Comments are displayed immediately once posted. Comments can be only be removed by the author (if signed in to a Goggle or OpenID account) or if requested by someone else with good reason.