The Philippine Basketball Association, like most everything else in the country, takes a backseat to the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight today, but an hour of reckoning looms less than two weeks from now.
After the PBA Board of Governors left hanging Thursday the identity of the man who will lead the league from the 41st season onward, leaving intact the four-man list of candidates for the job, a division of the house when they again gather on May 14 appears inevitable.
That is if the governors hadn’t conducted some kind of straw vote already.
The quartet – ex-pro Vince Hizon, St. Clare head Jay Adalem, league operations chief Rickie Santos and former pro coach Chito Narvasa – met separately with the board for a panel-like interview and presentation that lasted four hours but which got them nowhere close to their goal – that of succeeding outgoing Chito Salud as the ninth PBA commissioner.
Three months after Salud announced that he is stepping down at the end of 40th season, eight weeks after the board commissioned a professional search and screening firm called a head-hunter to interview about 20 potential replacements, and four weeks after the roster was shortlisted to six names and later to four, the post of chief operation officer, as the incoming commissioner will also be known following an organizational shakeup put in place during the All-Star Week in Palawan, remains vacant two days before the start of the third conference Governors’ Cup.
“The board will assess and evaluate the candidates based on their presentation, background and track record and consult with their respective principals,” said Salud.
By principals, that would mean Manny V. Pangilinan of Talk ‘N Text, NLEX and Meralco, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu of Alaska, Terry Que and Raymond Yu of Rain or Shine, Pepito Alvarez of Kia Motors, Dioceldo Sy of Blackwater, and Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel Beer, Purefoods and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
“Ultimately, it will be the call of the team owners,” said Salud.
That may be. But has the board come up somehow with a consensus vote on who to recommend to their superiors?
The question cropped up after Blackwater governor Silliman Sy inadvertently revealed that Kia Motors, which was without representation that Thursday, has already cast its secret vote and left it in the care of PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial.
Salud and Marcial left for Las Vegas shortly after the meeting to watch the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
“Walang representative ang Kia pero nakaboto na sila,” said Sy. Asked who Blackwater voted for, the Elite team official clammed up.
None of the other governors present – chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text, Robert Non (SMB), Manny Alvarez (Barako Bull), Al Panlilio (Meralco), Ronald Dolatre (NLEX), Mert Mondragon (Rain or Shine), Alfrancis Chua (Barangay Ginebra), Dickie Bachmann (Alaska), Rene Pardo (Purefoods) and Erick Arejola (Globalport) – stayed around long enough to be interviewed, while of the four candidates only Hizon shared his sentiment in a tweet where he posted: “It is finished! It’s all in your hands from here Lord!
While it is possible the governors have now gained a sense of who the top choice is, inviting some degree of lobbying within the next few days, it is also likely Kia Motors officials cast their vote only because everyone of them was already in Las Vegas to support their world renowned playing-coach.