Chito Salud resigning his post as president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was something I saw coming a mile away.
The moment it was announced that Salud was being moved to that position while someone — who turned out to be Chito Narvasa — else would take care for the game operations of the league, it was a train wreck waiting to happen.
This was the first time in league history this was going to happen with Salud taking care of the business side while the league operations went to Narvasa. Were there procedures in place to define duties and responsibilities? On paper, yes. The marketing was to go to Salud. The problem is some of those concerns overlap with Narvasa’s. Case in point, one governor’s concern about players requesting for parking tickets at game venues. Who takes care of that? Why was it Salud who answered that question a recent board meeting?
I have it on good word that when former league chairman Patrick Gregorio proposed the CEO-commissioner system to keep Salud with the PBA, one governor said that had he been present during the discussion he would have voted and bared his disagreement because it would have been superfluous.
Gregorio had good intentions, of course. For one week, he joined Salud in all PBA concerns from the D-League and PBA games to sitting down and discussing matters with players, officials, coaches, trades etc. After one week, related Gregorio, he felt exhausted, and he understood Salud’s reasons for wanting a break. The former league chairman felt that it would have been a waste to let go of a man of Salud’s talents, hence, the CEO/president position.
But who defines the roles? It was at best nebulous and somewhat vague. This was like those turbulent 1980s when Ferdinand Marcos was president and Cesar Virata as prime minister and finance Minister.
To date there are no procedures in place.
Indeed. And who handles what?
During the last PBA Draft, Narvasa informed this writer that he went to the venue without anyone having briefed him on what was going to happen and what was expected of him. During his time as head coach of Shell, it was the coaches of each team who called out their respective picks in the draft. That procedure was changed during the time of former commissioner Noli Eala who patterned the PBA’s draft after the NBA’s.
I do not believe that there was any malice involved. It is just an unfortunate result of a flawed system that unfortunately pit two men unwittingly against each other. The word going around is the two men eventually stopped talking to one another with people in the office taking sides.
I have to feel for Salud who was ready to call it a day after the PBA’s 40th season but was prevailed upon to stay. And all of a sudden there were issues about compensation and control over what department and what.
I understand Narvasa as well who only means to effect professionalism and good change but has found his decisions misinterpreted and has been on the firing line for comments made here and there.
It is unfortunate that the drama that should only be confined to the hardcourt spills off it — throw in the Snow Badua "ban," the Pacquiao-Dubai thing, the Joe Lipa indefinite suspension. That only serves to reveal that the league is in turmoil.