PUERTO PRINCESA - The move of Chito Salud from commissioner to president and chief executive officer of the PBA was broached by the PBA board and was in no way scripted, league chairman Patrick Greogorio said.
The alternate governor of Talk ‘N Text made this clear amid allegations the move was planned all along even before Salud announced his decision to step down as commissioner at the end of the league’s 40th season.
“It’s unfair for the commissioner to be treated that way,” said Gregorio. “There’s no such thing as scripted development because there’s no such thing. We have to be fair to the commissioner, we have to be fair to the board.”
Gegorio bared it took Salud two days to accept the offer made by the board and some team owners themselves.
“First we had a meeting last February 26. We talked about restructuring the league then we presented it back to the team owners, who then approved the restructuring,” said Gregorio.
“Then a few days ago, we offered Atty. Salud the CEO post, and just last night… he accepted it,” added the chairman.
Under the league re-organization, the CEO will handle the marketing, finance, admin, legal, and other departments, while giving the commissioner all the time to concentrate in look after the games in both the PBA and D-League, officiating, and other game-related matters.
The new set-up will also have the chairman of the board on top of the league hierarchy, with the CEO and game commissioner directly below.
“The CEO reports to the board. He is behind the strategic growth of the league. And then the game commissioner will be after the sustainability of the league as well as in improving the games, officiating, and fan base. Basketball ang focus ng commissioner, yung isa (CEO) strategic growth,” Gregorio stressed.
Asked why the board chose Salud to be the first CEO, Gregorio said it is plain and simple.
“Because we feel he can do the job, he is the right man for the job. I am sure CEO Chito Salud will hit the ground running,” he said.
KIA team governor and Columbian Autocar president Ginia Domingo fully supported the restructuring of the league.
“It will lead to a lot of stability within the organization. It’s high time we implement that. Ang laki na ngayon ng PBA. We now have 12 teams and with this, we are now looking at the further growth of the league,” said Domingo.
“It’s not actually dividing the commissioner’s roles. You will just have people who are specialists. You have someone handling basketball operations and then someone who will man the development of the league.”
NLEX president Rodrigo Franco also liked the new set-up of the league and the retention of Salud, who he claims has further elevated the popularity of the PBA and the interest of fans.
“It was a consensus of the board, he is qualified and he knows the league. Yun ang strength of the current commissioner. His credentials and achievements as the league’s head back up the belief of the board on why there is a need to retain him,” said Franco, who despite his busy schedule, made sure to attend the special meeting of the board here on Saturday night prior to the All-Star game.
“I think tama lang na mag-restructure ang liga, kasi the PBA has grown. Lumaki na ang league and there’s really a need really to bring the PBA to the next level,” said Franco, a well known former JP Morgan Chase banker in New York before becoming NLEX’s top official.
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy was also supportive of the board decision.
“I gave my full support to this new direction of the PBA. It’s like adopting to the set-up of some big companies. One man cannot really handle the job by himself. There should be a specialist for every critical position,” said Sy.
“It’s how our company (Ever Bilena) is also run. We have designated certain people to certain jobs where we know he is competent and knowledgeable. Hindi pwedeng trabaho ng iisa lang ang lahat,” he added.