Powerade puzzle still unsolvedBy Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
I wonder what prompted PBA Commissioner Chito Salud to ask Coke management for a clarification of JB Baylon’s status in the PBA Were there indications that JB is no longer Coke’s representative to the PBA board?
During last Friday’s press conference following the aborted emergency board meeting called by chair Mamerto Miranda, the commissioner said he was going to ask Coca-Cola president and CEO William Schultz not only for a clarification on the reported sale of the Coca-Cola franchise to San Miguel Corp., but also on the current status of JB Baylon as Coke governor to the PBA.
“Is he still the PBA board representative, or has he been replaced?” Commissioner Chito wanted to know.
For a while, JB had freely entertained interviews from media, openly expressing his views about the widespread report on the sale of the Coke franchise.
Then suddenly, all was quiet on the Coke front. JB was no longer answering phone calls and text messages. Somebody else from Coke, who was unknown to scribes covering the PBA beat, was now making statements for the franchise.
Had JB been silenced by higher management for speaking his mind out?
The basketball community was hoping to get some answers after Friday’s board meeting, but it was aborted for lack of quorum.
Only five governors showed up headed by Chair Mondragon of Rain or Shine. The others were Al Villadolid of Air21, Joaqui Trillo of Alaska, Pato Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text and Mon Segismundo of Meralco.
There were no representatives from Powerade, Barako Bull, Ginebra, Petron and Derby Ace.
The PBA community is speculating that JB’s openness to media may have sparked a conflict between him and Schultz, producing adverse results.
At any rate, Commissioner Salud should get an answer to his query when the board reconvenes on Feb. 20.
Will JB be at this meeting? Or maybe the question should be, will Coke have a representative in this meeting?
* * *
If he was affected by the tumult within his team, Coke franchise player Gary David didn’t show any sign.
Gary said during a recent press conference hosted by AKTV that he goes through his usual routine, coming to practice early and doing at least an extra 300 shots every workout.
Gary was voted Best Player of the last conference and his coach Bo Perasol said he has evolved from a backup guard to a full-fledged scoring superstar.
“What he has become right now is the product of his tireless work ethic before, during, and after any basketball season. He spends countless hours in the gym to strengthen his body in preparation for the rigors of a tournament. His shooting skill is the result of daily postpractice drills.”
Nobody asked Gary about the status of his team, which recently signed him to a three-year 15.1 million contract.
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