Former PBA Commissioner Rudy Salud who is regarded alongside the late Leo Prieto as the finest leaders of the pro league has come out strongly against the plan by some board members who are pushing for the PBA to form the national team for such international tournaments as the FIBA Championships and the Asian Games.
The proposal was made by PBA chairman Lito Alvarez with the support of Sta Lucia Realty’s Buddy Encarnado with the latest being Coca C ola’s JB Baylon who first indicated it could not be done properly aside from the costs to the PBA teams but in an apparent change of heart now apparently supports the idea.
In a text message Baylon said he had been furnished a copy of “what appears to be a part of the SBP Constitution that refers to elite tournaments including the Asian Games, Olympics etc and rests responsibility on the formation of the team on the professional league. I suppose that’s the PBA . So apparently we are mandated by the PBA itself.”
Salud noted that even before he became Commissioner he was “ very outspoken” against the idea of the PBA forming the national team and always supported the idea “to train a national pool for international competitions.”
Salud recalled that he had even “proposed to the then PBA board that they set aside the income from the All Star Games which used to be big with big income during my time and the board unofficially agreed to set aside a certain percentage as development fund precisely to be given to the national pool” that was to be set up at that time by the Basketball Association of the Philippines which was the accredited National Sports Association.
He also recalled that aside from the financial support the PBA was “willing to accommodate the RP team as a guest team in the PBA conferences to hone them up but not get the PBA players and disrupt the league and loose revenues in the process.”
Salud said history has proven that every time a PBA team played in an international tournament and lost the PBA “suffered” in terms of attendance and income while the TV franchise holder also lost revenues because of the poor attendance and television ratings.
The former Commissioner and one-time legal counsel who drafted the PBA Constitution and By Laws, served as the founding secretary general of the World Boxing Council and also drew up its Constitution and By Laws stressed “I want a national pool and I don’t want the PBA to be disrupted and I want the PBA to have a system of helping the national pool.”
Salud at the same time criticized Commissioner Sonny Barrios for allowing so-called sister teams to circumvent the ban on direct trading by using a third team as a conduit which has happened often.
Salud said “why does the Commissioner allow that circumvention through a third party. If it smells bad, it is bad.”
The eminent lawyer pointed out that the Commissioner should also clamp down on trading or selling of players because “he has a bigger right to ensure that there is competitive balance in the league because that is a service to the public, instead of going after the neck of a player like Japeth Aguilar because he (Barrios) is serving the interests of a team not the general public.”
Arguing against the plan to fall back on the Commissioner’s general powers in the Aguilar case, Salud said “the general powers apply when there is no rule and the rule is generalized” even as he reminded the PBA that there are specific rules covering the case of a player being drafted and not signing up with the team that drafted him.
Salud’s comments came even as Sta Lucia traded Denok Miranda to last conference champions San Miguel Beer claiming it was because of salary cap problems effectively indicating that San Miguel Beer’s star-studded team which only recently also acquired Arwind Santos from Burger King who received the maximum salary, apparently had no salary cap problems which was met with disbelief by some board members.