QUIT while on top.
Believing he has served the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) well in his five years as commissioner, Atty. Chito Salud on Sunday confirmed he’s stepping down from his post by the end of the league’s 40th season.
Salud is leaving behind a legacy that saw Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league enjoy a record membership of 12 teams, a solid television partner in Sports5, and several record-breaking feats in terms of gate attendance and TV ratings.
“Today the PBA is stronger on its 40th year and more relevant than ever,” said Salud in a press conference to announce his decision to leave behind a league that served as home to him the past five seasons.
“This is the right time to pass the baton to a fresh leadership, a fresh face, to a fresh voice with fresh ideas that will take this league to greater heights,” added Salud, who was joined in the announcement by chairman Patrick Gregorio and members of the league board.
Gregorio said the league board accepted Salud's resignation with a 'heavy heart' in a special board meeting held hours before the announcement that was first reported by Spin.ph on Friday.
“Kami mismo sa board ay nagulat, nalulungkot. Alam namin na mahirap humanap ng kapalit,” Gregorio said. “But we respect his decision, it is for himself, it is for his family. He believes it is good for the PBA to have a fresh start, sabi nga niya push it to the next level.”
Among the board members present were treasurer Eric Arejola (GlobalPort), Ginia Domingo (KIA Motors), Rene Pardo (Purefoods), Mert Mondragon (Rain or Shine), Siliman Sy (Blackwater), Manny Alvarez (Barako Bull), Dickie Bachmann (Alaska), and Alfrancis Chua (Ginebra).
The appointment of Salud, son of the late former league commissioner Rodrigo Salud, is on a yearly basis and he said shortly after the first conference, he decided now is the right time to give other the chance.
He said the decision, contrary to perception, was not made in a haste.
“I have given the team owners and team governors sufficiently enough time to find a sufficient replacement for the office of the commissioner,” said Salud.
The commissioner likewise stressed the decision has nothing to do with reported rumors he’s running for a public position in next year’s elections.
“No,” was his curt reply when asked if he’s seeking local office. “Politics? Let’s leave that to the experts.”
On what lies ahead of him following his stint in the league, Salud said he’ll focus first on the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup and his final conference in charge.
He’ll then take a short break with his family, before thinking about the next direction he will take.
“Let’s see what lies out there for me, perhaps a different challenge,” said Salud.