Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Renauld “Sonny” Barrios have reportedly stepped on too many toes during his three-year stint as head of the country’s richest and biggest sports league prompting the powerful board of directors to finally replace him.
Although no official announcement has been made, Barrios is expected to be given the door at the end of the current PBA Fiesta Cup and will be replaced by lawyer Chito Salud, son of former commissioner Rudy Salud who presided over the PBA during some of its peak years from 1988-1992.
During interviews with top PBA officials on Wednesday, all of whom requested not to be identified because no official decision has been made, Barrios was described as having made decisions that appeared to favor one team to the detriment of another.
“A lot of team owners and governors are clamoring for change,” said one source privy to PBA discussions. “The board could have done it last year, but decided to give the commissioner an extension.”
Barrios was initially made officer-in-charge following the resignation of Noli Eala and after a stalemate occurred in the heated debate over who would succeed Eala.
Barrios earned the board’s trust and subsequently was officially named the league’s seventh commissioner.
But his stint was riddled with controversies.
One of which was his reported meeting with Sta. Lucia team owner Exequiel Robles while the PBA Philippine Cup finals was going on between Sta. Lucia and Purefoods.
It was reportedly after this meeting that a Flagrant Foul 1 on James Yap was upgraded to FF 2 causing Yap’s suspension for one game.
He also had some basketball decisions that irritated several team officials, including the one when he allowed Talk ’N Text to play against San Miguel Beer in the previous Philippine Cup despite bringing the wrong set of uniform that delayed the game for two hours.
Likewise, some officials were displeased with the way he handled the controversial Talk ’N Text walkout against Barangay Ginebra during the Philippine Cup.
“The PBA has to move forward further, right now we are down. The officiating is down, and even the gate attendance is down. So these are crucial things that the board needs to consider,” the source said.
Another source who is privy to the situation said that Barrios will be evaluated after the season. However, the source said he doubts if the board will give Barrios one more year, saying: “I don’t think he’ll be extended.”
Former Deputy PBA commissioner Tommy Manotoc, however, defended Barrios.
He said that since the departure of Leo Prieto, the PBA”s first commissioner, the office has lost its independence.
He said the commissioner has fallen victim to the whims and fancies of the board members.
“What they should do is give the commissioner a free hand on everything related to running the league,” said Manotoc who claimed that when he was deputy head of the league, he was given a free hand although he said that was because he was perceived to be powerful.
Source: WAYLON GALVEZ | mb.com.ph