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Jorge, BEST founder, quits Samahang Basketbol board

Nic Jorge

MANILA, Philippines – Nic Jorge, founding president of the long-running Basketball Efficiency and Scientific Training Center (Best Center), has resigned from the board of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) over claims the group has taken the same path as its predecessor, the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP).

“They have isolated the legitimate and legally elected and appointed officials from the SBP leadership. It’s now reminiscent of the old BAP when the “bata-bata” system was the order of the day,” Jorge said.

He claimed a powerful group within the SBP has insulated business tycoon and SBP president Manny V. Pangilinan from legitimate concerns that officials like him would have raised before the SBP chief.

Jorge, one of the very few cage officials who fought the old BAP when its officials misrepresented themselves as representatives of the sport in the country, helped organize the SBP along with several other key stakeholders who chose Pangilinan as the SBP president.

Jorge particularly hit former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) commissioner Noli Eala, who was appointed SBP executive director by Pangilinan.

“It’s as if they have a grand design to kick out those who worked hard to put up the SBP,” said Jorge, referring to long-time cage official Moying Martelino and international referees Rolly Omampo and Levy Valenzuela, who were all removed from the SBP.

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Jorge, himself, was replaced as chairman of the Youth Commission, by Eala.

It was an arbitrary decision, according to Jorge, who was never informed of the move as he was in a business trip to the US when Pangilinan announced his removal.

“Eala wanted to appoint me to what he claimed was a higher position. He told me, ‘byahe ka na lang (go on trips) Nic,’ as if my involvement in the SBP is all about trips. I’m sorry, but we have invested in basketball so much, not because of the trips but because of my commitment to the sport,” Jorge said.

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