ONE of the things you learn when you’re in the sports beat is that some Pinoy sports fans love conspiracy theories and love to talk about them.
I first encountered that back in the late ‘90s, when billiards was still a big thing in the country and international events were held regularly. Efren Reyes, who was racking up titles left and right abroad, rarely won an event in the Philippines, prompting talks from some disgruntled fans that he was deliberately losing.
Reyes would later say in an interview that he felt more pressure playing at home than abroad because he knew that every Pinoy in the crowd not only expected him to win, but expected him to play perfectly every time.
That, of course, didn’t end the speculations.
Because, like I said, Pinoy sports fans love talking conspiracies. It helps pass the time while drinking bottles of San Miguel, Red Horse or Ginebra.
And the latest issue to hit the PBA will surely fuel that. Any gathering among Pinoy sports fans that ends up in a talk about the PBA will eventually lead to talks about the PBA favoring certain teams and all of them are convinced that the PBA is doing that.
Heck, in a meeting among sportswriters in Cebu that drew almost all the members a decade back, the talk went to the PBA and since it was that strange PBA era when all the finals reached a Game 7, the inevitable was raised -- yes, the league favors certain teams.
And now this -- a strange trade that had even a former commissioner saying that teams that don’t want to win have no place in the league. I think that was just the politically correct version of the kanto boy saying, “kita ra many gibinuangan ani.”
I haven’t read a comment that said the trade was fair and almost all see the trade as a selloff.
Some are saying that this will affect the PBA in a big way and hit its credibility. Though I think it will, I don’t think it will have a major impact. Gone are the days when the PBA was the staple in family TVs.
There are so many reasons for that, primary of course is the myriad of options for visual entertainment available now that wasn’t available in the early 2000s. Those who are still watching the games are the die-hards, and though they’d be disgusted with this, I don’t think they’d be turned off.
The PBA will keep its fan base, but it surely won’t win any new fans with the latest move. Fueling new topics about PBA conspiracies, now that’s a different thing.