(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
A week after appointment as PBA commissioner, Marcial bares priorities
Apparently, Willie Marcial, the long-time chief of the PBA Media Bureau, initially only wanted to help in the transition process after being appointed as the officer-in-charge of the PBA upon the end of the term of former PBA Commissioner, Chito Narvasa who was embattled during the latter part of 2017 owing to his approval of the Christian Standhadinger deal, among other things. Marcial was even reluctant when he asked if he would accept the post as commissioner should the PBA board gives him the position, saying that he would wait until the board makes an official decision.
Despite more popular names being rumored to be among the candidates, the board made the right decision in promoting Willie Marcial to full-time PBA commissioner, even calling Marcial as the "healing commissioner" as the PBA is still recovering from the disastrous off-season that included a no-show of 5 board members during the annual planning session of the league in the United States.
Exactly a week after his promotion as commissioner, Willie Marcial laid down his priorities. And below are those priorities:
The number 1 priority of the new commissioner is to escalate the level of fan support that the PBA is getting. Like it or not, fan support has diminished during the latter years of Narvasa's term owing to the number of decisions that some would call as "biased". In fact, some fans even claimed that Narvasa's actions have taken away the excitement in games.
According to Marcial, the fans are the biggest factors why there's a PBA in the first place. Included in Marcial's projects is a project which he called "PBA Homecourts" The nature of the said project is for the current and former PBA stars joining Marcial and his staff as they make surprise visits to basketball courts in different barangays within Metro Manila to inspire young fans.
Willie Marcial has already begun improving the officiating during games upon the reinstatement of the "No Harm No Foul" rule which is also to speed up the games themselves. According to the new commissioner, there's no perfect officiating in any league but also added that it doesn't mean that they cannot do everything to improve the system. As part of his agenda to improve the way games are being officiated, Marcial intends to meet with the 12 head coaches to listen to their inputs on how to improve the officiating in games.
The Narvasa Saga has caused the board to be divided into two factions. Having said that, one of Willie Marcial's main priorities is to unite the board anew. He intends to be the bridge that will bring the board together after being widely divided in many ways which almost compromised the 43rd season of the PBA.
Willie Marcial has definitely a lot of work on his desk now that he's the commissioner of the PBA. But given that the coaches and the fans have loved the reinstatement of the "No Harn No Foul" rule among other things, the board may have done the right thing in promoting Marcial.