Believe me, it was a real good night last week for me after spending a few hours with an old and new friend.
I am referring to sportsman-businessman and sports patron Alex Wang, the old friend and the guy behind Wang’s Basketball Club, which I believe is the longest-existing ball club locally, excluding PBA teams that is, and NorthPort Batang Pier team manager Bonnie Tan, the new friend.
And what else can one expect when an old dog like me in sports meets up with similar basketball fans, except they are younger than me?
The original purpose of the meeting was to discuss a mini book project about the 25 years of Wang’s that I may undertake for Alex. He believes that it would be a good way to celebrate turning 25 with a mini book that would chronicle the start of his involvement in basketball from the time he was young and basketball became a natural path for him to take as the original family compound in Mandaluyong included two whole open courts.
And from being just a player, he ended up owning a commercial ballclub that has been competing locally for a long time, even with a few international stints thrown in, backing a local cage league, the Millennium Basketball League, throwing his support to the women’s national team, then coached by a common friend Fritz Gaston, fielding his team in the PBA D-League, and other related basketball programs.
But what I like the most is that he is able to help up-and-coming young players, some of whom have ended up in the pro league. At the same time, there are also former PBA players who end up going back to Wang’s after their professional career. Fact is, some of those players were given regular employment in his company.
What I would suggest though is get a copy of the book we will be working on to know the entire story behind Wang’s.
On the other hand, Bonnie is also the coach of the Letran Knights, who he led to the NCAA championship two years ago in his very first year with the team, accomplishing what he failed to do with Lyceum for a much longer time. It was luck, he said.
Alex, being a Letran alumnus, supports the Knights. Now, you see the connection why we all three ended up together that night at the PuNta Bar.
Bonnie said the team was ready to defend its crown last year if not for the pandemic that stopped all sports in its tracks.
More so now that three top players from the University of Sto. Tomas in Rhenz Abando, Brent Paraiso and Ira Bataller have transferred to Letran as an aftermath of the Bicol bubble training that the Tigers allegedly held during the lockdown.
Bonnie also told me that nothing is definite yet about the next basketball season of the NCAA, but that the plan is to start off, if allowed, with a 3 on 3 tournament.
However, if Bonnie is optimistic about his NCAA chances, it is a different story for him in the PBA, where his initial target is for the Batang Pier to make it to the quarterfinals at least, then take it from there.
He has just finished negotiating with Christian Standhardinger, waiting for the contract to be finalized. Sean Anthony still has two seasons left with the team, while Robert Bolick will definitely be back in action. These, plus his no. 2 and no.11 picks in the first round of the PBA draft, and the pick in the second round, give him and coach Pido Jarencio the chance to beef up the team.
Now, the only thing left are the answers to these questions: Will the NCAA have a season? When will the PBA start another All Filipino conference?