Richard Bachmann has been tapped to replace Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala as chairperson of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Press Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil made the confirmation, saying that Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin signed the appointment paper of the 58-year-old Bachmann, formally making him the 12th chairman of the government’s funding arm for sports.
Aside from Bachmann, also appointed were Walter Torres and Edward Hayco as commissioners.
Torres is a former national fencer who saw action in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 while Hayco is the former chief of the Cebu City Sports Council.
They will join Bachmann and incumbent commissioner Olivia “Bong” Coo in the five-man PSC board of commissioners.
One more position is set to be filled up, but Tribune sources stressed that former De La Salle University basketball star Dino Aldeguer is the frontrunner.
Bachmann’s appointment came as a surprise.
In fact, Eala was just appointed last August and he has yet to warm up his seat as chief of the national sports agenda when he got replaced.
Palace insiders claimed that his ties with Atty. Vic Rodriguez led to his ouster since the former Executive Secretary had a falling out with the Chief Executive barely weeks after the national elections last May.
But Bachmann is definitely fit for the job.
Like Eala, Bachmann’s background is basketball after serving as a longtime executive of Alaska in the Philippine Basketball Association.
When the franchise folded up early this year, he displayed tremendous managerial skills when he spearheaded the transition of the Aces to Converge, making sure that all contracts will be honored and nobody — from the star player to utility personnel — will be left behind.
He acted as team manager of Converge for a time before stepping down to give owner Dennis Anthony Uy a free hand to assemble the team outside the shadow of the old Alaska franchise.
Prior to his appointment as PSC chief, the former La Salle star served as commissioner of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament and chairperson of the PBA 3×3 while heading the day-to-day operations of the country’s hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup next year.
More than that, he is the son of the late Kurt Bachmann — one of the basketball giants in the country for being a member of the team that saw action in the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Tribune tried, but Bachmann is still in the United States and couldn’t be reached for comment.
His brother, Robert, however, assured that Bachmann will hit the ground running and pick up where Eala left off.
“He is in the States right now but he is thrilled to start working as PSC chair,” the younger Bachmann, the president of the Philippine Squash Academy, told Daily Tribune.
“I am throwing my full support to him, not because he is my brother, but because I know that he has what it takes to lead the country’s national sports program.”
“Replacing Chairman Noli will be very challenging but I’m sure my brother will work hard to support our athletes and help them sustain the momentum they gained from previous international tournaments.”
Robert, who used to chair the powerful membership committee of the Philippine Olympic Committee and deputy chief of mission of Team Philippines in the 18th Asian Games in 2018, added that he will support his brother whatever happens.
“I have my brother’s back. He knows that,” he said.