Salud apologizes for ‘crude’ Draft lottery draw
PHILIPPINE Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud admitted fault in the controversial Draft lottery on Tuesday night and issued a statement vowing to have full transparency of the proceedings in the future.
“I have seen the video of the Draft lottery I conducted. I can now also see why people have expressed concerns, some even doubts,” Salud said in a text message sent to media yesterday, the morning after Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, in behalf of team management, called for a redraw by saying the process “lacked integrity and credibility.”
“This is an entirely avoidable issue and I apologize to our fans, our teams and our coaches for the distraction it has caused,” continued Salud. “Improvements could have easily been instituted had I given this more attention.
“It simply did not occur to me that the whole process looked crude as coach Guiao called it,” he said. “It may have appeared unrefined, but it was an honest draw. Improvements will be implemented anchored on full transparency.”
The brouhaha of it all stemmed from the fact that Salud failed to take his hand out of the box after putting three balls in it—two for Globalport and one for Meralco—before he drew out the name of Globalport as the winner of the first overall pick in August.
Guiao lashed at Salud hard on Thursday night after steering his Elasto Painters to a series-equalizing Game 2 win in the Governors’ Cup Finals against San Mig Coffee as he questioned Salud’s ability to lead the league.
“If we cannot conduct a credible, simple lottery draw, how can we conduct a professional basketball league?” Guiao, who has had a rocky relationship with the commissioner, questioned.
Meralco’s draft right is owned by Rain or Shine because of a previous transaction.
The controversy went viral a few hours after it happened and a couple of days before Guiao and Rain or Shine had called for an investigation by the board, which, at least some members of it, have thrown full support to their commissioner.
Patrick Gregorio, the incoming chair, said in a text message that “we trust commissioner Salud, but of course, we also respect the position of Rain or Shine. We can always discuss this matter in the board. The overall interest of the PBA is paramount.”
Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, the owner of Alaska, said: “Indeed, the process by which the commissioner handled the Draft [lottery] creates suspicion and lacks transparency that does not bode well for the PBA.
“As the premier sports league in the country, we need to be setting a better example,” he said in a message to the Inquirer. “And unless full transparency is provided, there will always be doubt. This is a time when the league’s reputation and integrity need to be put above the interest of any single team.”
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