'El Presidente' Pitches in.(Sports)

Article excerpt

IT MAY be an idea whose time has finally come.

Three or four years ago, multi-titled amateur coach Joe Lipa launched a basketball concept that would gather the champion schools of collegiate leagues all over the country for one super tournament.

Lipa called it the Philippine Invitational Collegiate Championship and the competition was held amid much expectations at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The tournament was completed, but the major kinks that got in the way forced Lipa to briefly shelve his dream, retreating to his war room to plot new strategies and plan better courses of action.

I learned so much from that first tournament, Lipa said a week ago. This time we hope to do it right.

We now means a number of people Lipa didnt have as staunch supporters of his vision back them.

Foremost are the men behind the Basketball Association of the Philippines, especially secretary-general Graham Lim, who embraced the project and Lipa, and finance chief Christian Tan, the man beside Joe when the Colleges and Universities Basketball Champions Cup (CUBCC) was formally presented to the media during Tuesdays Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Holiday Inn.

Second is Boy Santiago, who is making full use of his marketing wizardry, advertising influence and television experience to ensure the success of the endeavor.

And third is Ramon El Presidente Fernandez, who has been offered the position of commissioner for the 10-playdate tourney dubbed as Basketball Champions League 2002.

Fernandez, who made a surprise appearance at the PSA Forum, has yet to accept the overture but has pledged his support for the project in whatever little capacity I can. …