In the couple of seasons he served as PBA commissioner, Chito Narvasa admitted that the toughest decision he had to make was approving trades.
That’s a revelation he made in Power and Play hosted by former league chief Noli Eala, who put together past and present commissioners for Saturday’s episode. Sonny Barrios, Chito Salud, and Willie Marcial also graced the show.
“You know, when you make a trade, it’s very, very difficult.
“Kasi sometimes, there are things which you cannot share with the public. It has to be discussed only within the board for them to be able to understand, and there are only some things you can impart with the public,” said Narvasa, the ninth commissioner of Asia’s pioneering pro league.
Plenty of player movements have taken place under Narvasa’s watch. He didn’t mention any deal in particular, though, but it was during his time where one of the most controversial trades the league has had happened.
Yes, when the Columbian traded away its number one overall pick for the 2017 Draft to powerhouse squad San Miguel approaching the end of the 2017 season, where the Beermen won two of three conferences.
That pick turned out to be Fil-German bruiser Christian Standhardinger. The Dyip, on the other hand, received veterans Ronald Tubid and JayR Reyes as well as Rashawn McCarthy and a 2019 draft pick.
Columbian’s decision to trade a top pick was reminiscent of what it did in the 2015 Draft, when the franchise then known as Mahindra shipped 2nd overall pick Troy Rosario to Talk N Text in a three-team deal.
That trade also happened under the former PBA coach with Shell and Purefoods, who took over the post from Salud on August 1, 2015 — that year’s draft proceeding was held on the 23rd of the month.
But that Standhardinger trade, really, was the one that put the league on the headlines for a while. It led to a division within the PBA’s very own board as seven of the 12 teams agreed not to extend Narvasa’s term.
The 2018 season almost did not push through due to the standoff, but fortunately, the board managed to settle their differences. Later on, Narvasa, who initially refused to give up his seat, tendered his resignation.
Marcial was then assigned to be the officer-in-charge while TNT governor Ricky Vargas took over as the league’s chairman. Marcial eventually became commissioner as the league got its bearings back.
And in 2018, the board unanimously agreed against the trading of the number one pick due to that Columbian-San Miguel trade. The rule took effect the following year where the Dyip selected first and nabbed CJ Perez.
Narvasa received plenty of criticisms in approving such deals. But for the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, he decided on such things based on what is right and fair.
“You just have to make sure that one, it’s really based on what the rules are. Second, you really believe that it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“You should be guided especially with what I’ve heard from all of you what Commissioner Leo Prieto has passed on, you have to be truthful to yourself. You have to base it really what you believe is really correct.”