Salud named PBA CEO
PUERTO PRINCESA—While the media group’s primary purpose for this trip to Palawan was to cover the annual PBA All-Star Weekend, our focus was divided even before we could board the chartered Air Asia plane bound for our destination.
Two hours before the flight, there was talk about a board meeting scheduled Saturday afternoon at the All-Star site in light of the most recent development regarding the proposed reorganization of the PBA structure.
Apparently, the restructure committee composed of PBA chair Pato Gregorio, Rain or Shine’s Mert Mondragon and Purefoods Star’s Rene Pardo, who begged off from the All-Stars, had appealed to commissioner Chito Salud to reconsider his resignation, on the premise that the new table of organization would make his work load lighter.
The plan was to make Salud the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the highest office in the new PBA structure, with the commissioner and the other division heads reporting to him.
Salud accepted the post during Saturday’s board meeting, marking a big change for the league.
* * *
Last Friday, as the participants were preparing for the PBA All-Star Skills Challenge, a group of superstars set out for Rio Tuba here to conduct an outreach program.
Led by former PBA governor Jose Bayani “JB” Baylon, whose company Nickel Asia Corporation was sponsoring the All-Stars, the group composed of James Yap, Arwind Santos, Asi Taulava, Marc Pingris, JC Intal, Kevin Alas was flown by a small, propeller plane to Rio Tuba, the first of a series of stops, but returned to their hotels by land.
“We were supposed to return to Puerto Princesa by plane, but a sudden change in weather conditions prompted us to change our plans. It became very windy, the pilot told us it would be unsafe to land. Traveling by land would be less risky,” said Baylon.
“Marc Pingris even said he didn’t mind if it took us several hours more to get back to the city as long as we got there in one piece. Everybody decided we should travel by land.”
For the inhabitants residing in the mining villages, seeing PBA superstars in person was a big, big treat.
“When two boys opened the door of our van, they were so shocked to see James (Yap) and Arwind, they became speechless and could not move for some moments,” JB said.
Asi, on the other hand, was overwhelmed.
“The turnout was so awesome. There were just so many people. You’d never imagine there was that many people in such a remote area,” he said.
“No, we didn’t get tired. It was fun.”
* * *
The Inquirer asked JB if he was aware that some people in the PBA were batting for him to be commissioner.
He admitted he was, and that it flattered him. “Nakakataba ng puso,” he said.
Yes, one of the governors talked to him about it.
Much will depend on the setup, he said.
Which means much will depend on the outcome of the board meeting Saturday afternoon. And based on what transpired, more big changes are coming up.