Richard Bachmann, a former official of the Philippine Basketball Association, finally took his oath as the new chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission, replacing former chief Noli Eala, who served for only four months.
In his short stay at the PSC, Eala has achieved a lot.
Under his watch came international achievement in world tournaments by athletes in weightlifting, jiu-jits, boxing, and karate, and the revival of the agency’s premiere grassroots program: the Batang Pinoy.
Eala was also embraced with open arms by the Senate which supported his P5-billion budget proposal for the year 2023.
If any, this could be Eala’s biggest legacy to the incoming administration of Bachmann who, like him, is a former executive in Asia’s oldest basketball league.
Bachmann prides himself on his long association with the Alaska organization under the leadership of businessman-sportsman Wilfred Uytengse, whose business philosophy Bachmann will try to carry with him in the government agency for sport.
“I bring with me nearly three decades of experience in organized sports, as well as the Alaska Aces’ philosophy I have learned and valued over the years, which is to win with integrity while helping our athletes to become better individuals off the court,” Bachmann said.
“I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to serve our Philippine athletes in this capacity. I look forward to working with the NSAs, together with our PSC team members and Commissioners, in order to help our athletes, prepare for this year’s sporting events.”
Bachmann’s management style will be tested when the country takes to battle in the 32nd Cambodia Southeast Asian Games which is set just four months from now.
And then there’s the Asian Games in Hangzhou in September, the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the World Beach Games in November as well as dozens of qualifying tournaments for the 2023 Paris Olympics.
Will Bachmann carry with him the no-nonsense, stickler-to-rules type of Alaska management?
Will he be able to work effectively in dealing with the nearly 50 National Sports Association members under the umbrella of the Philippine Olympic Committee?
There are nearly a thousand national athletes under the care of the PSC, and most of them will take part in the Cambodia SEA Games, just under four months away. And this stage is the most crucial one in terms of preparation.
Curiously, January is the month when the PSC suspends monthly allowances to athletes because this is when the NSAs supposedly change their national lineups. But most athletes are already preparing to train at this time for the SEA Games.
Will Bachmann stick to rules and deny the athletes their monthly allowance when most of them are already preparing for the SEA Games?
Former chairman Butch Ramirez’s leadership was definitely a tough act to follow.
Under his watch and during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, the country regained the overall championship of the SEA Games in 2019.
And many times, he went out of his way to provide for the athletes as he continued to provide them allowances even while not in training during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then in 2021, the country won its first-ever gold medal in the Olympics, courtesy of weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, and produced marquee names on the global stage like pole vaulter EJ Obiena and gymnast Caloy Yulo.
Of course, the NSAs and the POC are crucial partners in this endeavor, but the PSC’s support weighs a lot.
The athletes are anxiously waiting for the next move of the new PSC board under Bachmann. His first major act would be a glimpse of his administration policy in the years to come.