Life After a Realtor

On: 23 July 2010

Boyet Fernandez

By Rey Joble
GMANews.TV, 20 July 2010

Buddy Encarnado, a Sta. Lucia Realtor for life, and champion coach Boyet Fernandez, are expected to play new roles after their team bade goodbye to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Fernandez gladly accepted the role as team consultant for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons. He has already joined former PBA superstar Jerry CodiƱera and head coach Aboy Castro as early as last week.

"Coach Aboy (Castro) has been asking me to join as early as last year, but I still have a commitment with Sta. Lucia. Now that I no longer have a team to coach in the PBA, it's a good opportunity for me. The environment is different in the collegiate league and it's fun. I'm here just to help out," said Fernandez, who guided Sta. Lucia to its last championship in the 2007-2008 Philipine Cup.

Fernandez was among the well-wishers during the get-together, and 60th birthday party of Sta. Lucia board governor Encarnado at the Acropolis Club House in Libis, Quezon City.

He was joined by past and present members of the squad which include former coach Alfrancis Chua, former Realtors Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes and ex-team captain Dennis Espino and other team officials, members, supporters and friends of Encarnado.

Also present were PBA officials headed by commissioner Sonny Barrios, incoming commissioner Chito Salud, acting board chairman Rene Pardo of B-Meg Derby Ace and board members Robert Non of Ginebra and Virgil Villavicencio of Talk 'N Text as well as PBA operations manager Rickie Santos and media burreau chief Willie Marcial.

Sta. Lucia's top honcho Exequiel Robles was there, too.

Williams and Reyes won their MVP and Rookie of the Year awards, respectively, while playing for the Realtors. They are now members of the Tropang Texters.

Espino played his first 15 seasons for Sta. Lucia before being traded to Coca-Cola early this season.

Fernandez, who started his amateur career with Sta. Lucia, thanked Encarnado for giving him the trust to run the Realtors' squad up to its final days in the PBA.

"I have high respect for Boss Buddy and I'm very thankful that he gave me the opportunity to coach the team. Sta. Lucia will always be a part of my life as I started my playing career with this team and had my only coaching career with this team as well," added Fernandez.

For Encarnado, basketball has been part of his life, and even without Sta. Lucia Realty, he will most likely serve the PBA in a different capacity.

Encarnado, a former PBA chairman, along with Robert Non and Pato Gregorio of Talk 'N Text, were delegated to lead the committee for the D-League.

Encarnado is expected to head the Developmental League, which will be formed through the merger of Liga Pilipinas and Philippine Basketball League (PBL).

The two leagues came up with a joint tournament – the Tournament of the Philippines (TOP), which is being done through a series of short-leg events in different parts of the country.

Soon, the merged leagues will fall under the PBA umbrella, to which a new league will be created – a PBA D-League -- patterned after the NBA D-League in the United States.

The creation of the D-League was pushed by former PBA chairman Lito Alvarez, who was recently appointed by President Noynoy Aquino as the new Bureau of Customs commissioner

Meralco's PBA entry needs board approval

Manila Electric Company (Meralco), a company with a rich basketball tradition, is now knocking on the PBA doors.

The company is reportedly taking over Sta. Lucia's franchise, but it will still need board approval, according to Pardo.

"We want to see how competitive the team (Meralco) it will field in and how long can it commit in participating in the PBA, that's why its entry needs board approval."

"People would want to see games played at a more competitive level and they want to see competitive teams. If we have competing teams with inferior line up and not winning games, it will definitely hurt the league's attendance," added Pardo.

Pending the official takeover, Meralco will inherit a squad that has Nelbert Omolon, Ali Peek, Nic Belasco, Josh Urbiztondo, Chris Ross, Gabby Espinas, Jason Misolas and former San Beda stalwarts Yousif Aljamal, Ogie Menor and Pong Escobal as members.

Once Meralco becomes the 10th member of the PBA, the league will also need to tackle whether the team will become a sister squad of Talk 'N Text or become an independent team.

Manny Pangilinan, the chief backer of the Tropang Texters, also owns a controlling stake in Meralco.

Last season, several PBA board members questioned whether Burger King, a brand carried by Air21 of the Lina Group of Companies, and Talk 'N Text were sister teams.

Burger King is a joint venture of the Lina Group, Lito Alvarez, Pangilinan, Ricky Vargas and Wilson Young of Basic Holdings Corporation.

The Lina Group was able to prove it has the majority share with Burger King, but Alvarez suggested that Burger King and Talk 'N Text won't trade players directly.

The trade ban was lifted after the Lina Group used its old name, Air21.

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