PBA commissioner Chito Salud dedicated the Executive of the Year Award he received during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Annual Awards Night to his late beloved father.
“I want to dedicate this award to my late father Rudy Salud who taught me the principles, virtues, the values that made you believe I deserve this award,” said Salud in his speech on Saturday at the Manila Hotel Centennial Hall.
Salud was named the year’s best sports executive of 2012 after Asia’s first ever professional basketball league reached an all-time high in terms of gate receipts under his watch, reaching P114 million during the 2011-2012 season.
Salud also paved the way for the involvement of all PBA teams in the formation of the Gilas Pilipinas squad vying in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship which the country is hosting this year.
But Salud shared those were not the reasons which he aimed for when he became commissioner in 2010 as he led the league based on his belief that “sports is life and life is sports.”
“Nung tinanggap ko po ang position na PBA commissioner, aaminin ko po sa inyo na ang pangamba ko ay hindi ‘yung hamong madala ang PBA sa susunod na lebel in terms of gate receipts and live attendance, kundi ‘yung paghamon ko na ‘sports is life and life is sports’, then I should lead the PBA the way life should be led, and hopefully inspire a culture of competence, anchored on fairness and integrity,” said Salud.
The commissioner is overwhelmed by the accolade he received from the Philippines' oldest media organization.
“Basketball in the Philippines is admittedly bigger than anyone of us. So to say that I have somehow helped basketball reach greater heights in the country overwhelms me.
“But I do accept humbly this recognition coming from a community that shares all that it asks of our sports leaders is a genuine, earnest stand at competence, of course, anchored on fairness and integrity,” said Salud.
The league leader also shared a bit of his memories about his father, who served as the third commissioner of the 38-year-old league.
“We are in a family that is very passionate about sports. Every time we are together, we discuss, digested, and dissected sports. We agreed and disagreed, we looked at it from every angle, every perspective, including our national life.
“The countless eavesdropping that I had on my father’s conversations with his friends present tonight, I’m sure the Philippine sportswriters know what I’m talking about,” Salud added.