CALVIN Abueva should be among the players who has had the most number of visits to the PBA Commissioner's Office, time and again summoned for transgressions like an appearance in a 'ligang labas' or involvement in a fight.
But 'The Beast' wants to keep seeing Salud - at the helm of the pro league.
“Totoo ba yun? Kelan daw? Sino papalit? Nagulat ako dun ah,” said Abueva upon hearing the news that Salud is set to announce on Sunday his resignation as commissioner of the 40-year-old basketball league.
Abueva bared to having no knowledge of Salud's impending resignation as he has been out of the loop for a few days after he was downed by flu that forced him to miss one game and skip three days of practice.
The former San Sebastian King Stag rejoined Alaska's practice only on Saturday afternoon.
The Alaska star forward said he has come to know the league chief well owing to his numerous summons to the PBA office, and he was the first to say that Salud is strict but fair.
“OK naman siya commissioner eh. Wala naman siyang pinapanigan, ayos naman,” he told Spin.ph. “Hindi ko masasabi na natutuwa ako kasi aalis na siya, kasi lahat naman ng mga tinuturo niya (sa akin) malaking bagay eh.”
The three-year pro shared that Salud's words of wisdom have helped made him a better person - on and off the court.
“(Yung mga pinagbago ko rin sa court base sa utos at payo niya), yung sinasabi niya. Magaganda yung mga payo niya sa akin eh. Para lang isang ama,” he said.
“Sana huwag niyang ituloy yung pag-resign niya, ituloy lang niya yung mga ginagawa niya kasi ayos naman ang liga eh,” added Abueva.
Former PBA superstar Abe King echoed Abueva's sentiment, citing what the lawyer chieftain has done for the PBA in his almost five years at the helm.
“I want to give him an 8 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Hindi naman pwedeng perfect. May mga shortcomings din naman kasi siya, hindi naman mawawala yun eh,” said King, who on several occasions has criticized Salud's decisions.
“Overall kasi nag-improve sa kamay niya ang PBA. Entertainment-wise, nabigyan niya talaga ng buhay ang liga,” the former Toyota star added.
The outspoken King has taken critical stands against Salud on a number of issues, from the selection process of the 40 Greatest Players roll to the handling of the Players' Fund.
Still, King said it can't be denied that Salud has succeeded in rekindling interest in the PBA.
“Pinuna ko siya sa mga 'yun, pero other than that, okay ang management niya sa PBA. Sabi ko nga sa iyo, bumalik ang interest ng publiko kasi maganda ang naging pamamalakad niya (Salud),” he said.
“Ibinalik niya yung ‘no harm, no foul’ naging exciting ulit ang mga laro, tapos 'yang sila (Manny) Pacquiao, pumasok na rin sa PBA. Malaking mileage yun, napapag-usapan ulit ang PBA ngayon,” he said.
Here's a podcast of full interview with Calvin Abueva and Abe King:
The PBA great said Salud should rank as one of the most competent commissioners in the league, though he still believes his dad, the late Rudy Salud, ranks as the "best there was."
“Maayos ang pamamalakad ni Chito. Nakikita ko nga sa kanya yung ama niya eh," said King. "Pero syempre, para sa akin mas magaling pa rin yung ama."
Asked if he wants Salud to continue with his tenure, King said: “Of course, I would want him to stay. Sana huwag muna siyang mag resign.”