Names start cropping up as PBA board takes closer look at candidates for commissioner
Among those interviewed for the PBA commissioner's role, according to sources, were Andy Jao, Ryan Gregorio, Rickie Santos, and Chito Narvasa. Jerome Ascano/ Reuben Terrado

THE PBA board of governors convenes in a special meeting on April 8 at the Resorts World Manila to take a closer look at candidates recommended by headhunting firm Global Executive Solutions Group (GESG) for the post of commissioner.

The special board meeting is set at 5 p.m. and precedes the colorful celebration of the pro league’s 40th anniversary, which will be highlighted by ceremonies honoring the 40 greatest players in the league's first 40 years.

Since the All-Star break, GESG has been functioning as the “fourth man” in the search committee that also includes league chairman Patrick Gregorio, Rene Pardo and Atty. Mert Mondragon.

PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said the headhunting firm has interviewed at least 20 potential candidates for the position that will soon be vacated by Chito Salud, who will move up to a new position as president and chief executive officer (CEO) starting next season.

The board is expected to trim the candidates list down to at least five after the deliberations, Marcial said.

“Mga 20 candidates na ang na-interview ng headhunting company, pero by April 8, mga down to five na lang 'yung names na ire-rekomenda nila sa board,” Marcial told on Saturday.

The candidates on the shortlist will then be interviewed by the board governors, before they eventually make the final decision. Chairman Patrick Gregorio had earlier said the board will formally appoint the new game commissioner before the end of the Commissioner’s Cup.

According to sources, among those interviewed by the headhunting firm were UAAP commissioner and longtime TV analyst Andy Jao, former Shell and Purefoods coach and current Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines president Chito Narvasa, TV analyst and lawyer Charlie Cuna, many-time Coach of the Year awardee Ryan Gregorio, and current PBA operations head Rickie Santos.

It is still unclear if the names will be part of the candidates pool that will be presented by GESG to the board, although sources said Gregorio had already begged off from consideration.

Marcial has also taken himself out of consideration shortly after the board created the position in a meeting during the PBA All-Star Weekend in Palawan early this month.

Meantime, an elaborate program is being prepared as the PBA fetes the league’s 40 greatest players as well as six pioneering sportswriters at the Resorts World Manila.

The 15 additions to the “greatest’ list are Kerby Raymundo, Marc Pingris, Chito Loyzaga, Jayson Castro and Marlou Aquino for the five open spots, joining former league MVPs James Yap, Danny Ildefonso, Asi Taulava, Willie Miller, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa and Arwind Santos.


The 15 will join the original members in the 25 ‘greatest list’ that includes Johnny Abarrientos, Bogs Adornado, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Ricardo Brown, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Ramon Fernandez, Danny Florencio, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Jaworski, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses, Manny Paner, Benjie Paras and Alvin Patrimonio.

Marcial said they are hopeful that the original 25 greatest players, who were previously chosen by the league back in 2000, will be able to attend the affair.

“Inimbitahan na namin yung nasa 25 greatest (list). May ilang mga members dun na nasa US, hopefully makapunta din sila,” he added.

On the other hand, the six sportswriters to be cited are Ding Marcelo of the Manila Bulletin, Jun Engracia and Ernie Gonzales of the Inquirer, SCOOP president Eddie Alinea, Gus Villanueva of Journal and Lito Tacujan of the Philippine Star

The six sportswriters covered the first PBA game in 1975.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava