WITH Rain or Shine's bid for a re-draw of the controversial PBA draft lottery heading to the league board, it will now be left to the representatives of the member ballclubs to deliberate and act on an issue that has polarized the league's fans.
Spin.ph thought it wise to feel the pulse of the members of the league's board, especially since the controversy has turned into a confidence vote for Commissioner Chito Salud.
At posting time, representatives from Alaska and San Mig have yet to respond to Spin.ph's request for comment while the Commissioner's Office said governors from the league's two newest teams - Kia Motors and Blackwater Sports - will not be taking part in the deliberations.
On the other hand, the governors of Rain or Shine (Mert Mondragon) and GlobalPort (Erick Arejola) are expected to inhibit from the proceedings.
Here are the thoughts of the PBA governors who responded to Spin.ph's request:
Chairman Ramon Segismundo (Meralco): Personally, I think it is a non-issue. We may not have the equipment (for the draft lottery), but I can vouch for the integrity of the process. We are ready to receive ROS letter and the board will act on it as we are a collegial body. I am only expressing my own opinion. We tend to make mountains out of molehills.
Vice-chairman Patrick Gregorio (Talk 'N Text): I was not there when it happened and I have not watched the tape. I would like to believe it's a case of mental lapse. So at the end of the day, it's probing the credibility of the person who made the lapse. I don't doubt the credibility of Commissioner Chito Salud. Any credibilty issue against the commissioner is an issue against the PBA. Let’s be careful. Moving forward I am sure he will be more cautious. Let’s all enjoy the PBA finals. We trust Commissioner Salud but of course we also respect the position of Rain or Shine. We can always discuss this matter in the board. The overall interest of the PBA is paramount.
Robert Non (San Miguel Beer): We are 101 percent in support of the Commissioner in his stewardship of the league. He has proven his impeccable professionalism, integrity and fairness, which led to the league's success. We don’t believe in such accusation of impropriety during the lottery to determine the first pick in the coming rookie draft. What will he gain in return if he do that as alleged? Nothing. This accusation is also tantamount to undermining the league and Commissioner Salud's ability to lead it. Such allegation have no place in the PBA where sportsmanship and integrity is of utmost importance.
Alfrancis Chua (Barangay Ginebra): I still believe in Commissioner Chito Salud and I still have faith in him, no doubt. Isa siyang marangal na tao. Hindi ako naniniwalang he will rig the draft. He will not gain anything from it. I have seen how balanced he is in attending to different matters of the league, and I don’t see why he won’t be in that particular draft lottery. Commissioner Salud has been running the league well and I don’t think sisirain niya kredibilidad niya for that lottery.
Lito Alvarez (Air 21): I can understand the concerns of Rain or Shine and coach Yeng Guiao and I believe there are opportunities for improvement in the lottery process. But all this can be resolved in a nice and pleasant way within the board without putting into question the credibility and sense of fairness of Commissioner Chito Salud. Our confidence in Commissioner Salud is complete and unconditional, and I personally don't believe there is any hanky-panky in the way the lottery was conducted.
Manny Alvarez (Barako Bull Energy): I don't believe a re-draw is warranted because 1.) Procedure followed was same as in the past 2.) Both sides were duly represented 3.) No direct evidence of tampering nor bias 4.) We can't order a re-draw based on mere suspicion 5.) A re-draw would be most unfair to GlobalPort. Changing the process in the future can be discussed in the spirit of continuous improvement but this must not be used to cast aspersion on the integrity of the good commissioner.