Memo to the incoming PBA Commissioner:
Even before the PBA board of governors come to a final decision May 14 on who will succeed outgoing commissioner Chito Salud, the immediate tasks of the would-be chosen one from among the four remaining candidates are already laid out before him.
And the scope of the responsibilities for the first six months alone is unbelievably daunting.
Led by Gregorio, the PBA board met separately for half an hour each with the four – PBA operations chief Rickie Santos, NAASCU executive and St. Clare head Jay Adalem, also the treasurer of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, ex-PBA player and FBA commissioner Vince Hizon, and former PBA coach Chito Narvasa.
“They presented themselves, shared their insights with respect to the manner in which they will discharge their functions as league commissioner, along with a brief background about their family, education and employment status,” said Salud. “I thought the questions were probing, relevant and more importantly, the answers were very insightful and forward.”
From here, Salud said, the board will “assess and evaluate the candidates based on their presentation, background and track record and consult with their respective principals.”
The board meets again on May 14, Salud added, “to take appropriate action.”
Salud let on that “ultimately, this will a call of the governors and the team owners.”
Both Narvasa and Gregorio sought the commissionership at different times but the position went to somebody else, lawyer and broadcaster Noli Eala in 2003 and longtime PBA executive and then OIC Sonny Barrios in 2008 after the deadlock between lawyer Chito Salud and businessman Lambert Ramos.
Salud eventually took over in 2010 and held the job until announcing early this year his decision to step down after five seasons, precipitating the search for a successor as the PBA’s ninth commissioner.
In a surprising turn of events, however, Salud accepted the newly-created post of president and chief executive during the All-Star Weekend in Palawan while staying away from overseeing game-related functions and the laborious technical aspects of both the PBA and the D-League.
A corporate search and screening outfit called Global Executive Solutions Group (GESG) was commissioned to interview around 20 candidates and the head-hunting firm shortlisted six: Adalen, Santos, Hizon, Talk ‘N Text veteran Danny Seigle, NBA-Asia executive Mark Fischer and PBA broadcaster and lawyer Charlie Cuna.
Seigle and Fischer were eventually dropped from consideration while Cuna begged off. Narvasa, who coached Ateneo in 1989, Shell from 1995-98 and Purefoods in 1998, was reportedly a frontrunner in the original list but excused himself for personal reasons.
The son of former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa was, however, prevailed upon to meet with the league governors to clarify matters the head-hunter couldn’t provide answers to.
Present during the meeting with the commissioner-candidates, other than Gregorio, Salud and PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial, are Robert Non (SMB), Manny Alvarez (Barako Bull), Al Panlilio (Meralco), Ronald Dolatre (NLEX), Atty. Mert Mondragon Rain or Shine), Alfrancis Chua (Barangay Ginebra), Dickie Bachmann (Alaska), Rene Pardo (Purefoods), Erick Arejola (Globalport), and Silliman Sy (Blackwater).