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PBA: Narvasa named commissioner

Chito NarvasaManila, Philippines – The most complicated search for a PBA commissioner ended without a dissenting voice yesterday as the board of governors unanimously voted former PBA coach Chito Narvasa as successor to lawyer Chito Salud.

What was originally thought to be a tight and close race for the post among four aspirants never looked that way and the meeting was nearly anticlimactic after PBA Chairman Patrick Gregorio presented Narvasa’s name as commissioner and the board quickly approved the proposition, paving the way for the unanimous vote.

“We have arrived at an unprecedented and historic decision, which is unanimous 12-0 in favor of Chito Narvasa,” said Gregorio in a press briefing at the league offices in Quezon City.

The PBA began its search three months ago after Salud, whose father Rudy also served as commissioner, suddenly stepped down, a decision that caught many by surprise.

But instead of quickly appointing a successor, the board accepted several nominations and even hired a head-hunting firm to help it draw personalities from various sectors. At one point, there were seven nominees for the post.

Narvasa, 57, who previously coached Shell and Purefoods and starred for Ateneo during his college days, will begin his tenure on August 1. Before that, he will work with Salud to learn the ropes although his experience as former commissioner of the NCAA and UAAP will help him in his new job.

“I have to find out what they (owners, coaches and players) think what we can do as officials to improve the game,” Narvasa said.

“I have not been following the games, I don’t know what to do. What to do, when to do and how to do, I still have to find out. Next week, yes I’ll start attending the game.”

The son of former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, the younger Narvasa was also a candidate for the post as early as 2002 but was beaten to the job by Noli Eala.

This time, Narvasa had been a front runner for the post after he topped a poll conducted among the 12 teams. Thus, his selection appeared to be just a confirmation of the wishes of the majority of the league members.

“It was a very quick meeting because we were able to analyze the process in the last few meetings and we were able to address all the issues,” said Gregorio.

He said the decision to choose Narvasa was cleared with the team owners, none of whom attended the meeting.

Gregorio said the unanimous vote showed the unity and common purpose of the members of the league.

Salud, who was earlier appointed CEO and president of the league, welcomed Narvasa’s selection.

“I am elated with the appointment of Chito Narvasa as PBA commissioner,” he said in a statement.

“Chito brings tremendous experience, maturity and know-how in managing the growing operational and technical challenges of a vibrant and dynamic league. I will undoubtedly rely on him in ensuring that our product, our games, continue to be a source of pride and the driver of our ambition to take PBA to the next level in terms of the breadth and scope of its partnerships, reach, impact and innovative capacity,” added Salud.