by Dennis Principe
Expect a more energetic and entertaining PBA when the league opens its 44th season this weekend.
According to league chairman Ricky Vargas, they would now allow players to be more animated and give them added responsibility to entertain the crowd.
One of the steps that will be implemented this season, Vargas disclosed, is for officiating to be more lenient to players who have the penchant for trash talking opposing players but in a waggish manner.
“Pwede na yung kantiyawan. Dati, mangantiyaw ka o mag-senyas ka, before that foul ka na o you get a penalty for it. Taas mo lang kamay mo, naka-tres ka, yun pwede na yun,” revealed Vargas. “But of course we will control it para walang pikunan. So the players themselves will be the ones to entertain the fans.”
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is also supportive of Vargas’ ideas and chances are these will be immediately implemented this season.
“Ok sa akin kasi mas maganda talaga na makita natin yung mga players na may emosyon. Huwag lang talaga yung taunting. Dati kasi kada galaw halos, technical. Although noon pa din, hinahabaan na natin pasensya and control na din sa technical (fouls),” said Marcial.
“Wala lang dirty tricks o personal attacks because dun magiging strict talagang tayo. Never natin papayagan yun,” added Marcial.
Vargas also wants to see more physicality in all the games as he believes such can also add value to the entertainment aspect of the PBA.
“Yung larong Pilipino kasi it’s a little rougher than how we play it. It’s a little tougher, faster, it’s a lot of movement,” said Vargas.
One of the most successful times of the PBA was during the tenure of the late great commissioner Rudy Salud who implemented the “No Harm, No Foul” officiating philosophy.
Observers then believe that type of officiating was a major contributor to the league’s huge success at that time.