Crisis May End in March -- Vargas
Byline: TITO TALAO and WAYLON GALVEZ
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas plans to meet with top officials of the international basketball federation (FIBA) in March during which they hope to present all the documents and papers required for the lifting of the country's suspension.
A central board meeting of FIBA is set on March 2-3 in Thailand and it is there where the SBP hopes to see the end of the current impasse that has prevented the country from participating in international tournaments the past two years.
A Unity Congress on February 5 will be the culmination of SBP's efforts, said PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas. The congress is in accord with the provisions of the Tokyo joint communiquA[c] which the FIBA said should be followed to the letter.
The accord, signed by then Basketball Association of the Philippines president Joey Lina, then Pilipinas Basketball head Bernie Atienza and telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, outlines the FIBA conditions preparatory to its lifting of the two-year suspension of the country.
After next month's convention at Dusit Hotel, where all 66 members of the BAP have been invited along with the 20-plus affiliates of Pilipinas Basketball to fill up the 25-man board and elect its interim officers, the SBP will seek accreditation from the Philippine Olympic Committee, the sports body that suspended and then expelled the BAP over its gross mismanagement of the association.
The SBP is racing against time. It wants to form a national team of PBA players who will be the core of the squad which it hopes could nail a berth in the Beijing Olympics.
"We want to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics so we're working for us to get to play in the SEABA in April or May and the FIBA-Asia championship in July," Vargas told sportswriters in the press room of the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday. …