The Rise and Fall of Chito Narvasa, Former PBA Commissioner


Chito Yuseco's parents, Andres Narvasa, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, and Janina Yuseco had him on October 18, 1956. He has a brother who is also a lover of basketball called Ogie Narvasa.

He previously served as a commissioner for both the MBA and the PBL. He is a former basketball player, coach, and business executive from the Philippines. His tenure as the ninth PBA commissioner brought him the most of his popularity.

Both Narvasa and Ogie, Narvasa's brother, were members of the Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball team. Additionally, the Narvasa brothers were members of the Philippine national teams in the years 1977 and 1978.

From the early to late 1980s, the two of them worked together as coaches with the Blue Eagles. From 1995 to 1998, Narvasa was the head coach for the Shell and Purefoods clubs in the Professional Basketball Association. He was also the president of the Philippines Basketball Coaches Association (BCAP).

The Rise and Fall of  Chito Narvasa, Former PBA Commissioner

PBA Highlights: His Career

Narvasa is not only a prominent figure in Philippine basketball but also a financial guru. In the 1980s, he worked as the head trader for several American companies before returning to the Philippines and taking on managerial roles at several financial institutions there.

From 1996 to 2003, he also taught at the Ateneo BAP - Institute of Banking. In 2000, he established the AYN Resource Management Group as a consultancy, leading it as president and chief executive officer. Before becoming PBA Commissioner in 2015, he was Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Citystate Savings Bank from 2014 to 2015.

As soon as his term as PBA Commissioner ended, Narvasa went back to his position as president and CEO of AYN Resource Management Group.

President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to the United Coconut Planters Bank(UCPB) board of directors in August 2018. In the period between May 2019 and June 2020, he served as president of UCPB General Insurance Company, Inc. (COCOGEN).

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa's rPBA Commissione Role

A unanimous 12-0 vote was cast by the PBA Board of Governors on May 14, 2015, to designate Narvasa as the ninth league commissioner. He officially took over for Salud on August 1, just in time for the 2015-16 PBA Rookie Draft.

The PBA named Narvasa to the position of Chief Executive Officer on March 7, 2016, succeeding Robert Non in that post. In doing so, Narvasa also assumed the league's commissioner position. Prior to the 2016 Governors' Cup, however, the office of CEO was removed.

The refereeing in the league has been a point of contention for a while; therefore, it was one of Narvasa's first tasks as commissioner to investigate the situation.

An order was given to teams hours before the 2015 draft prohibiting the dealing of players and draft picks on draft day, but it may be completed in the days after the draft.

Before the start of the 2015–16 PBA season, he made various adjustments to the officiating, mostly focusing on purposeful fouls while also adopting the referee substitution rule and the FIBA rule of resetting the shot clock by 14 seconds after offensive boards.

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Controversies

Since he took office, Narvasa's commissionership has been plagued by controversy after controversy. After beat reporter Snow Badua accused Alfrancis Chua, governor of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel team and a personal friend, of having an adulterous affair with model Abby Poblador, he banned Badua indefinitely.

It was brought to his knowledge that Badua had used various media platforms to slander, embarrass, and mortify a person of the power of this association. In the view of Narvasa, distress, embarrassment, and conflict have been caused in Mr. Alfrancis Chua's family as a result of the relentless attacks on him on Twitter. Many reporters felt violated by his ban on Badua and accused him of abusing his position as commissioner to stifle free speech.

Commissioner Narvasa was confronted by the Department of Health and other anti-smoking advocates on December 5, 2015, when Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua was caught vaping inside the arena on national television. After Chua apologized for his behavior, Narvasa just chastised him and gave him a warning.

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Controversies (The Case of Lipa)

When reporters inquired about Mahindra Enforcers playing coach Manny Pacquiao's absence from the November 2015 Alaska-Mahindra overseas game in Dubai, he was quoted as saying that Pacquiao was feeling under the weather, had prior engagements and that he is not a basketball player but a boxer; however, he still acknowledged Pacquiao's value to the league as a sports personality who can draw crowds to the game.

The consultant for the Mahindra team, Joe Lipa, took offense to what he saw as disrespectful and unwarranted statements made by Narvasa to the Dubai-based Gulf News. Due to Lipa's comments, Narvasa issued an obligatory summons, but Lipa ignored it. In response, he barred Lipa from future Mahindra events.

His predecessor, Chito Salud, accused him of engaging in a power play when he announced his departure as president and CEO. A number of insiders told reporters that Narvasa had made important decisions without consulting Salud, including the outright ban on Badua and Lipa.

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Controversies (The Case of Aquino and Gruta)

On December 29, 2015, he issued lifetime suspensions to referees Edward Aquino and Rommel Gruta for the remainder of the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup conference, despite their admissions of officiating errors - a non-call on a purported five-second violation and a stepping penalty on GlobalPort guard Stanley Pringle in the final play of an 84–83 overtime victory over Ginebra two days earlier.

During his time as commissioner, Narvasa issued more fines than any of his predecessors had before him. These fines were given out for everything from minor infractions like coaches and players tugging down their shorts during the game to major technical fouls.

He has a reputation for pointing the finger, most notably towards Dondon Hontiveros during a fight that broke out between the two teams in the 2015-16 Philippine Cup semifinal between GlobalPort and Alaska. The 16 technical fouls called were the most in a single PBA game.

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Controversies (The Case of Johnson)

Ivan Johnson, a transfer from TNT, was permanently banned from playing in the league by Commissioner Narvasa on February 13, 2016, shortly after Johnson cursed Narvasa as he was leaving the court after being ejected for a second flagrant foul in the second quarter of TNT's game against Meralco in the 2016 Commissioner's Cup.

At halftime, the decision was made public. After Johnson willingly apologized to Commissioner Narvasa for his actions during the TNT-Meralco game on February 17, his penalty was reduced to a season ban and P150,000.

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Controversies (The case of boy-cut hairdos)

Players and Gabriela's women's group voiced their disapproval of Narvasa's memorandum ordering that players with boy-cut hairdos be barred from participating in the PBA Women's 3x3 Basketball tournament was released on March 31, 2016.

In defense of the league's decision to bar boy haircuts from the women's league, Commissioner Narvasa made the following statement.

The Rise and Fall of  Chito Narvasa, Former PBA Commissioner

PBA Highlights: Chito Narvasa Leadership Crisis

On November 2, 2017, seven PBA Board of Governors members voted to end Narvasa's term as commissioner because they lost confidence in him.

While the board continues to discuss who will succeed Narvasa as commissioner, the resolution passed designates Deputy Commissioner and Technical Head Rickie Santos as the league's officer-in-charge. They also tried contacting the five teams whose governors could not attend the meeting but heard nothing back.

In a statement, former PBA chairman Robert Non called the seven-member board's decision to remove Narvasa from office "whimsical," adding that it was illegal and had no binding effect under the PBA's bylaws.

To dismiss or appoint a commissioner, the PBA requires a vote of two-thirds of its existing membership (8 out of 12).

Non also complained that the meeting was poorly timed because invitations were not sent out until Monday, October 30. A minimum of seven days' notice was required to be given to the board members' representatives in accordance with the guidelines.

Later, at a press conference held at the PBA's Libis headquarters, Narvasa made clear that he had no intention of resigning and would continue to campaign for the position of commissioner.

The seven teams that have stated they will not support his re-election have been asked to provide an explanation for their loss of confidence in the commissioner. In addition, he declared that he was willing to step down as commissioner but that he ultimately decided to stay in the role after consulting with his loved ones and legal advisors, as any attempt to remove him from office must adhere to the procedures outlined in the league's bylaws.

The seven teams issued a statement the next day to clarify that they did not move to oust Narvasa as commissioner but rather that they would not support a renewal of his mandate, which had expired at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.

According to the statement, Narvasa is well aware that, as stated in the Board Meeting Minutes and when he was appointed COO (commissioner) in 2015, his tenure will be renewed annually.

The seven governors took action on November 2 to block Narvasa's reappointment since he lacked the backing of a simple majority (eight governors out of 12) necessary for reappointment.

PBA Highlights: Conclusions

Former PBA Commissioner Narvasa turned in his resignation letter just hours before the 2017-2018 PBA season started on December 17. But the board has asked that Narvasa stays in his job until December 31, 2017, to make sure the change goes smoothly.

As of January 1, 2018, Narvasa's job was taken over by Willie Marcial, who is in charge of the PBA's media bureau. In the end, Marcial was named the tenth commissioner of the PBA on January 25, 2018.

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