ALASKA team owner Wilfred Uytengsu has backed calls for a do-over of the controversial PBA draft lottery, saying any doubts on its fairness should be put to rest to keep the league's credibility from being sullied.
The outspoken team owner said he has followed all the developments and watched the video of what he labelled a "farce draft" conducted on Tuesday by Commissioner Chito Salud, which has copped flak from Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao and raised 'rigging' suspicion from some fans.
In messages sent to Spin.ph, Uytengsu made it clear what he thought of the conduct of the draft lottery.
“I have read Yeng’s comments and interview. Also reviewed the video of the draft that went viral. Indeed, the process by which the commissioner handled the draft creates suspicion and lacks transparency, which does not bode well for the PBA,” Uytengsu said.
Uytengsu said the controversy is serious enough to pose a threat to the credibility of the 39-year-old league where he owns one of the oldest and most successful franchises, wondering why the controversy is being taken lightly by some quarters.
“As the premiere sports league in the country, we need to be setting a better example, and unless full transparency is provided there will always be doubt if this lottery for the draft was performed properly,” he said.
On Friday, Salud has apologized for what he said was the "unrefined" handling of the draft and conceded it has opened the process to suspicion, but he insisted that it was an "honest draw."
Asked if he is in favor of Rain or Shine's bid to hold a re-draw of the draft lottery which was won by GlobalPort over Meralco, whose pick was owned by the Elasto Painters, Uytengsu said a do-over may be necessary to "put all doubts to rest."
“I think if it’s done in a transparent way, then yes (we support a re-draw)," he said. "It will just put all doubts to rest."
“This is a time when the league’s reputation and integrity needs to be put above the interest of any single team,” he added.
At posting time, Rain or Shine's letter seeking a re-draw has yet to reach the PBA board and co-owner Terry Que said the team is ready to move on after Salud's apology.
“Okay na kami, nag-sorry naman na si Kume eh,” said Que. “Kung may re-draw, maganda. Kung wala, move on na.”
“Ngayon wala na sa amin 'yun, nag-sorry naman na siya. Inamin yung pagkakamali. Focus na lang kami sa finals,” added the Rain or Shine owner.
Que also expressed confidence in the way Salud has been running the affairs of the league.
“Ang mahalaga rito, maganda ang pagpapatakbo ni commissioner sa liga. Itong problema na ito, part lang ng pagsubok niya. Kami naman umaasa na maayos na rin itong problema na ito,” he said.