Mendoza: Fernandez: A team fixer, not a game-fixer

Al S. Mendoza

WILL Ramon Fernandez fulfill his threat?

Or, better yet, is he done doing it?

I refer to his plan to sue Peping Cojuangco for libel, triggered by Pepings public statement accusing El Presidente of being a game fixer in Fernandezs heyday as a basketball biggie in the Philippine Basketball Association.

As I said, Pepings tirade is a serious charge as it took the ugly form of casting doubt not only on Fernandezs character but also in his ability to garner those numerous PBA awards, including four MVPs.

So awesome was the 6-foot-4 Fernandezs monumental feat that only one thus far in the 42-year history of the league has equaled his four MVPs is Alvin Patrimonio.

For Fernandez to now be accused of game-fixing as what Peping had done is to seemingly put Ramons lofty cage reputation in disrepute.

Every well-meaning, principled, person will not take that sitting down, so to speak. And, certainly, not Fernandez.

If only to prove that he is serious in his plan to libel Peping, Don Ramon has said he’ll only back down if Cojuangco would retract his statement, issue a public apology and resign as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

But the 82-year-old Cojuangco, famously known for his stubbornness, has said he is ready to face Fernandez in court.

No surprise there. Men bathed with power at birth, such as Peping, are never known to back down. His ilk rarely, if at all, would throw caution to the wind.

Like virtually most of his wealth-laden clan, Peping ignores the counsel of Sophocles: It is terrible to speak well and be wrong.

Peping is up against a formidable challenge as he will not only face Fernandez but Butch Ramirez as well.

Ramirez, the Philippine Sports Commission chairman, has thrown his support behind Fernandez, one of his four PSC commissioners.

I will stand by him until the very end, said Ramirez.

Ramirez’s stance is what you call teamwork at its finest. Your ward is at war, well, be with him, though the heavens fall.

I like what Fernandez said and, to paraphrase him: Me a game fixer? Crap! But me a team fixer? Guilty as charged.

Simply, his 19 PBA titles would attest to that.