CHITO Salud plans to begin his function as Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) president and CEO the same way he did when he first became commissioner five years ago.
Salud intends once again to sit down with the entire team owners of the league, specifically for the purpose of coming up with a blueprint that would guarantee the availability of the best pro players to the national team.
The idea, according to Salud, should come in handy especially if the country wins the hosting rights for the 2019 Fiba World Cup, with the hope of putting together the finest team possible for the showcase.
Salud is confident all 12 team owners will again heed his call the same way they did in 2011 early in his stint as commissioner when he gathered under one room of the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel the likes of business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, San Miguel president and CEO Ramon S. Ang, Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu, and the tandem of Rain or Shine’s Raymund Yu and Terry Que, among others.
“They have always been very supportive every time I ask them for an audience,” stressed Salud. “This (PBA) is theirs to begin with, and I am sure that they have nothing but its best interests in mind.”
This early, the 53-year-old league official already has a handful of proposals in mind which he intends to bring up should the plan meeting with the team owners push through.
Salud likes the idea of sending the core of the team that will win the Philippine Cup as the country’s representative to a major international tournament being held on the same year it rules the all-Filipino tournament.
The practice was first done during the time of the late commissioner Jun Bernardino in 1994 when San Miguel, coached by Norman Black, represented the Philippines in the Hiroshima Asian Games after beating Purefoods for the Philippine Cup crown.
But the Beermen had to be reinforced later by star players Alvin Patrimonio and Johnny Abarrientos and then amateur standouts Marlou Aquino, Jeffrey Cariaso, and Kenneth Duremdes after injuries hit the team.
Likewise, Salud is tinkering with having a pool of collegiate players available for the national team that will later be allowed to join the draft provided the ballclub which selects them will make the players available once their services are needed for the national squad.
“There are many things we can talk about and I am sure they have their ideas,” Salud said. “It will all be up to them (the owners).”