PBA personalities back former Powerade governor JB Baylon for league commissioner
JB Baylon, pictured right with former national coach Joe Lipa, served as PBA vice chairman in 2011 when he was governor of the defunct Powerade Tigers. Snow Badua

A GROUP of PBA personalities has welcomed the news that former Powerade Tigers governor JB Baylon is part of the initial list of candidates eyed by the league board as successor of Chito Salud as commissioner.

Former PBA superstar Kenneth Duremdes said the 2011 league vice chairman is more than qualified for the position owing to his deep knowledge of the sport and PBA affairs as well as his impressive background in public relations and political affairs.

“When I read in your story that boss JB is one of those considered (sa initial list), natuwa talaga ako. I was more than happy because I know he is competent,” said Duremdes, who was Baylon’s alternate governor and former coach at the now defunct Coca-Cola Tigers.

Duremdes bared that Baylon should be more than qualified if the criteria in choosing for the next commissioner includes fairness, principle, creativity and hardwork.

The former league MVP vounced for the credibility of Baylon, who resigned from his post during the time when the company was trading away key players to make way for a franchise sale.

“Prinsipyo ba kamo? Bakit siya nag-resign sa Coke dati? Ang ganda ng posisyon niya run at sweldo, pero lumaban siya hanggang sa nag-resign na lang siya dahil hindi niya masikmura ang nangyayari dun,” said Duremdes.

“Kung prinsipyo lang ang pag-uusapan, subok ko 'yan,” he said.

[See Jaworski, Fernandez among early candidates for PBA commissioner after Salud resignation]

Baylon’s longtime aide-de-camp Jon Sacro bared that after their stint at Coke, offers to move to two high-profile PBA teams were surprisingly turned down by his boss.

“Inalok yan si boss JB ng dalawang teams, kaso sabi tinanggihan niya. Hindi dahil sa ayaw niya yung trabaho, kasi ayaw niya na magkasamaan ng loob ang dalawang companies,” said Sacro.

Sacro also bared Baylon, now the vice president for corporate affairs of NickelAsia, remains a passionate supporter of basketball, putting up huge barangay-level basketball tournaments in Palawan, Samar, Dinagat Islands and Surigao del Norte.

Former Coke star center and now NLEX Road Warriors big man Asi Taulava said Baylon's ability to find a solution to every problem will do the league a world of good.

“Boss JB is a known tactician, he always has ready answers to every problem. He’s been one of my advisers and what I like about him is his ability to balance the interests of everyone,” said Taulava.


The 42-year-old recalled how Baylon was able to get the full backing of all PBA teams in the formation of the 2011 Powerade Team Pilipinas which included the biggest names in Philippine basketball like James Yap, Willie Miller, Jayjay Helterbrand, Arwind Santos, Jimmy Alapag, Jared Dillinger, Japeth Aguilar, Sonny Thoss, Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes, Mick Pennisi, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel De Ocampo, Cyrus Baguio and Taulava.

“That tells you how much Boss JB has managed to establish good working relations with almost all of the PBA governors,” he said.

“With how he formed that team (2011 national team) with players from all teams without any hitch,  that speaks well of his camaraderie with the stakeholders,” added Taulava.

[See Fernandez takes self out of consideration for PBA top job]

Former Air 21 Express coach Franz Pumaren also tips Baylon as a good choice for the job.

“I think he can be a good choice. He was from Coke, walang affiliations 'yun from any of the existing teams, so wala siyang leaning, magandang option siya to evaluate as the successor of Commissioner Salud,” said Pumaren.

Aside from Baylon, also part of the initial list of candidates being tossed around by the league board are PBA legends Robert Jaworski, Mon Fernandez and Chito Loyzaga as well as former governors Lito Alvarez (Air 21), Buddy Encarnado (Sta. Lucia) and current BCAP president Chito Narvasa.

PBA special assistant to the commissioner Willie Marcial and current league operations Rickie Santos are also said to be part of the candidates list.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @snowbadua