Manila, Philippines – Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Salud has apologized for the unrefined manner with which the draft lottery was conducted Thursday, but assured that it was an honest draw.
“Improvements will be implemented anchored on fullest transparency,” Salud said yesterday.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao called the attention of the PBA board of governors after Salud failed to inform or invite a representative from the Painters who have acquired the draft pick of Meralco.
Guiao also questioned the kind of materials used, the absence of a neutral governor that could have drawn the ball himself and Salud’s failure to show his hand after putting the final ball which belonged to Globalport.
Globalport won the lottery and earned the No. 1 overall pick, edging Rain or Shine.
Salud said he understands Guiao’s concern.
Rain or Shine (RoS) Coach Yeng Guiao questioned Salud’s integrity and credibility after the commissioner did not remove his hand out of the box displaying the ball and the draft lottery winner Globalport.
“I have seen the video of the draft lottery I recently conducted,” said Salud in a statement, adding “I can now also see and understand why people have expressed concerns, some even doubts.”
“This is an entirely avoidable issue and I apologize to our fans, our teams and coaches for the distraction it has caused,” said the PBA commissioner, who is on his fourth year in the pro league.
Salud added: “Improvements could have easily been instituted had I given this more attention. It simply never occurred to me that the whole process looked crude as coach Guiao called it.”
Rain or Shine’s Mamerto Mondragon, a former PBA board chairman, said that they are still finalizing the contents of the letter which has not been submitted to the PBA office at press time.
This early though, Salud has the support of several board members, including former board chairman Robert Non of San Miguel Beer and incoming PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text.
“We are 101% 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,” Non said.
“I would like to believe it’s a case of mental lapse,” said Gregorio. “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 credibility issue against the commissioner is an issue against the PBA. Let’s be careful. Moving forward I am sure he will be more cautious.”