HONG KONG. – Following up a successful stint as chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association is what Rene Pardo now looks forward to with B-MEG in the coming 37th PBA season.
That is why the man who is the Llamados' representative to the PBA Board is eager for the PBA planning session here to wind up, so he could return home and be with the team which has some returning key players and a new coach in Richard del Rosario.
“Kerby (Raymundo) is returning, and so is Rico (Maierhofer) kaya medyo excited kami,” said Pardo during a dinner tendered by Powerade's JB Baylon Tuesday.
"Pagbabalik ng mga iyun, then they will join our frontline that also features Marc Pingris, (Rafi)Reavis and (Joe) Devance. With James (Yap) and PJ (Simon) also healthy, medyo mabigat-bigat na ulit ang core ng team namin," he added.
With Raymundo sidelined by a third-degree sprain and Maierhofer by a torn anterior cruciate ligament, B-MEG struggled for most of last season and wound up with a 20-24 overall win-loss record under rookie coach Jorge Gallent.
The performance of the team, which no less than San Miguel Corporation president and COO Ramon S. Ang described as the "most talented" among SMC's three PBA teams , led to the coaching change.
Del Rosario, a journeyman center in his pro career, has served as an assistant coach in Welcoat/Rain or Shine and under Gallent and the news of his elevation that reached here Tuesday evening is a very welcome one for Pardo.
"Ngayon tapos na ang mga haka-haka, ang mga speculations and the entire team can now concentrate on shaping up for the season-opening Philippine Cup that kicks off on Oct. 2 through practices that start Friday.
For the moment, Del Rosario will be holding his new post in an acting capacity since he still has an obligation with the St. Benilde Blazers in the ongoing NCAA basketball tournament.
There is enough time for Pardo to savor his stint as PBA chairman.
He took over the PBA reins four months earlier than expected from Air21's Lito Alvarez after the latter was tasked to serve the government, before serving out his own mandated 12-month term.
Through that period, Pardo divided his attention between helping guide B-Meg team manager Alvin Patrimonio and the league's other ball clubs. In addition, the PBA had a new commissioner in Chito Salud, returned to a three-conference format and unveiled a farm system-like tourney, the PBA Developmental League, for wannabe-pros.
He, with the aid of Salud and the other governors, must have done something right for the league posted a record-setting P88 million in gross revenues and got a 10th member, Shopinas.com that took over the old Barako Bull franchise, near the end.
“It was very fulfilling,” he said. “I had my moments, my ups and downs. But generally, I was happy with what we have achieved last season.”
The highly successful D-League kickoff tourney was the one he proudly singles out. “The formation of the D-League was a major achievement for me,” he stated.