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A suggestion for the PBA

MANILA, Philippines -- If you look at the Philippine Basketball Association, a lot of their problems can be summarized into four things:

  • Imbalance of power and the big bloc squads
  • Unfair trades
  • Controversial decisions by the commissioner
  • Officiating

Boy, are they problems. Furthermore, they constantly crop up. Wherever the league goes from this, you can bet your house that it will happen again because the basic foundation is flawed – the imbalance of power and the big bloc squads. It is from these that most of the problems follow. The day the previous commissioners allowed the big corporations to establish their power blocs then that was the end of parity.

So unless the league comes up with better measures to ensure fairness and parity and the last of these unfair trades, this will happen again and again. And who knows – maybe next time the league will be really torn asunder.

One of the league’s early commissioners imparted some advice to his successors that their decisions must always must answer two things – is it fair for all the teams and is it good for the league? If they didn’t answer that criteria, then there was something wrong with it.

Yet, that late commissioner also offered one jarring warning. One person isn’t enough to stand against the bigger teams. Hence, the flawed decisions.

With that in mind, there should be a check and balance.

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Now this one is rather revolutionary. It won’t be easy but bear with me.

What if the league allows – for lack of a better term – a Committee On Trade Approvals (COTA for short). An independent one composed of members with no corporate affiliation and not answerable to the commissioner or even the board. Of course, who to fill that committee is another thing.

Trades still go through the commissioner as do all other matters. But trades, you have to let a small but independent committee go through that trade like a comb. They will act like the commission on appointments (COA) in the government. They can make recommendations to make the offers more palatable to all parties involved. If one party or even both refuse, then the trade can be vetoed.

This isn’t the first time the league looked at some measures to ensure parity.

Remember the time there were four centers who were said they could not play on any one team – Ramon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Manny Victorino and Elpidio Villamin? Now some fans may not think that this player is on par with that player – whatever it is – they were top-flight centers and playing alongside each other would give an unfair advantage to teams.

Eventually, that was scrapped either because those players got old and were past their prime or after a certain time, it didn’t work. But that’s the beauty of it. Those men tried to ensure parity.

So why not give COTA a try?

In case you think I forgot about the officiating… now that’s for another column and discussion.

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