Lawyer Chito Salud has been named deputy commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), a move seen preparatory to his assumption of the post to be vacated by Commissioner Sonny Barrios.
PBA board chairman Lito Alvarez of Air21 Express said the decision to tap Salud, son of former Commissioner Rudy Salud, was unanimous.
Alvarez clarified, however, that Barrios will continue to function as league chief while the board decides Salud’s duties and responsibilities.
As deputy, Salud will be given three months to work with Barrios, after which the board will evaluate his performance.
The hiring of a deputy commissioner was agreed upon last year by Barrios and the board to give the governors ample time to select a new commissioner.
Barrios’ three-year tenure ends next season.
Alvarez evaded questions on Barrios’ fate.
“It’s too early to tell (if Salud will replace Barrios). But just like in any business, there’s always a succession planning. It’s like electing a president and a vice president. Of course, you’re not wishing that the president will step down.”
Barrios became the league’s seventh commissioner in January, 2008 after acting as officer-in-charge for five months.
Barrios’ appointment came after the board failed to break the stalemate between then candidates Salud and Lambert Ramos.
Barrios and Salud could not be reached for comment.
A source close to Salud, however, said the new deputy commissioner will make a statement after the board make the official announcement.
It marks the second time the league has appointed a deputy commissioner.
In the early ’80s, Tommy Manotoc was named deputy and ran day-to-day operations of the league with Commissioner Mariano Yengko relegated to being a figure head.
Meantime, Purefoods Hormel franchise or the B-Meg Derby Ace team was given the right to vote on non-basketball-related matters during the same PBA board meeting.
Purefoods is the third PBA franchise of San Miguel Corporation, and under the rules on commonly owned teams, only two commonly-owned teams can cast their votes on all PBA matters that need to be voted on. Voting for SMC in the past were representatives of the San Miguel and Ginebra.