THE search for the man who will succeed Chito Salud as the next PBA commissioner ends on Thursday when the all-powerful board of governors convenes one more time to make its final choice.
Only four people are left to contest the position more than a month since the board tapped the expertise of Global Solutions Group, a head-hunting firm tasked to identify potential candidates to be the next commissioner.
Still in the running are former Purefoods and Shell coach Chito Narvasa, current PBA operations chief Rickie B. Santos, Filsports Basketball League (FBL) commissioner and former player Vince Hizon, and St. Claire College owner Jay Adalem.
League insiders said the 12 governors will meet one last time to talk about the presentations and responses made by the four candidates during their April 30 interview before casting their final vote.
A candidate must get two-thirds vote, or the nod of eight out of the 12 teams, to earn the commissionership.
Sources said Narvasa and Santos appear to be the frontrunners to succeed Salud, though anything can happen by Thursday.
“Ang goal sa board meeting is from the four names, i-identify na 'yung magiging COO (chief operating officer) and game commissioner. So magkakabotohan na from there para malaman na kung sino sa kanila (ang next commissioner),” a reliable source told Spin.ph on Wednesday.
Two weeks ago, the four candidates were interviewed by the board for 30 minutes each, and according to Salud, the league’s team of executives came away impressed by their vision and responses.
Salud, who concurrently functions as league president and chief executive officer (CEO) following the restructuring of the PBA hierarchy, admitted any of the four candidates is capable of taking over the job owing to their solid credentials and vision for the league.
“We have a good, good batch of candidates. Anybody can get the position,” said Salud, who is set to step down officially from his post by the end of the league’s 40th season.
Salud will then take the new role as the league’s first president and CEO.
The new commissioner, according to Salud, is expected to handle all game-related issues – from schedules to tournament formats, make decision on trades, assess the fines and penalties of erring players and coaches, and oversee the day-to-day activity of the league.