Chito Salud and Yeng Guiao. Composite Image
MANILA – Several members of the PBA Board of Governors maintained their confidence in league Commissioner Chito Salud over the “crude” PBA draft lottery process, which has been criticized by Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
Board Chairman Ramon Segismundo, who represents Meralco, said he is saddened that there are some sectors who are questioning Salud’s integrity due to the way the draw was handled.
“While we may not have the lottery draw equipment and paraphernalia of NBA standard, the integrity of the process and the individual managing the process, the Commissioner, has never been in doubt,” Segismundo said in the league’s official website.
Guiao called for an investigation and re-draw of the lottery after his team lost the No. 1 draft pick to GlobalPort during the draw. The coach claimed that there were irregularities in the way Salud conducted the draw.
“We're just wondering why we did not have any representative close range during the lottery draw. We were wondering why the box was not transparent. We were wondering why the commissioner was the one who put the balls inside and he was one who picked it out," said the Rain or Shine coach in a press conference on Thursday night.
"The most fatal flaw is that the commissioner did not show his hands after he put the ball in the box."
Adding to suspicions was that the box used in the draw was not transparent, thereby covering Salud’s hand while choosing the winning ball.
But Segismundo called Guiao’s actions petty, and said he believes the PBA commissioner would do nothing to taint the exercise.
“I encourage everyone to move forward from this petty incident. The PBA have greater heights to scale and bigger dreams to realize,” said Segismundo.
This was echoed by PBA Board Treasurer Robert Non, who represents San Miguel Beer, and Board Governor Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra San Miguel.
“What will he (Salud) gain in return? Nothing. This accusation is also tantamount to undermining the league and Commissioner Salud’s ability to lead it. Such allegation has no place in the PBA where sportsmanship and integrity are of utmost importance,” said Non.
“Hindi naman siguro luko-luko si Commissioner para dungisan ang apelyido nila. He is doing a great job. Because of his vision, the PBA has regained its popularity and integrity. I hope we will not take this unfortunate incident against him,” said Chua.
For his part, league governors Manny Alvarez of Barako Bull said there is no need for a re-draw as the league followed the same procedure in the past.
Alvarez also pointed out that there is no proof that the balls used in the lottery process were tampered. He, however, said that they can discuss the improvement of the exercise to remove any doubt.
“Changing the process in the future can be discussed in the spirit of continuous improvement but this must not be used to cast aspersion on the integrity of the good Commissioner,” he said.
Air21 board representative Lito Alvarez said that Guiao should have taken a more pleasant way of resolving the issue.
“I can understand the concerns of Rain or Shine and Coach Yeng Guiao and I believe there are opportunities for improvement in the lottery process. But all this can be resolved in a nice and pleasant way within the Board without putting to question the credibility and sense of fairness of Commissioner Chito Salud,” he said.
The lottery involved the No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks which was raffled off to season’s last placer GlobalPort and Meralco, the second lowest ranking team.
The Batang Pier team eventually won the No. 1 pick, while Meralco settled for the 2nd pick, which will go to Rain or Shine as agreed in a previous trade.