PBA Commissioner Salud, a Politician?

In her Inquirer column of February 22, Beth Celis speculated that one reason why PBA Commissioner Chito Salud is quitting the PBA could be to launch his candidacy for a seat in Congress to represent one of the two districts of Makati City. If indeed Salud runs for Congress, or for any elective position for that matter, Manny Pacquiao would certainly endorse him for any position Salud aspires for. After all, Pacquiao fulfilled his wild dream of becoming a PBA player, a PBA head coach as well, thanks to PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.

Inquirer Sports Columnist Celis already raised questions about Pacquiao’s qualification as a professional basketball player when rumors about Pacquiao playing for Kia were becoming widespread. Every follower of the PBA, fan or aspiring player, knows that not just anybody who wants to play in the PBA can try out for a team. One has to have substantial experience in Samahang Basketbol ng Pilpinas tournament or in USA school league and prove that he has enough skills to be competitive in the professional ranks before he can even be included in the rookie draft of the PBA.
Pacquiao did not have the experience nor the skills required to be included in the rookie draft. To skirt those requirements, he got himself hired as head coach. Fortunately for Pacquiao there are no rules or policies governing the hiring of coaches, head or assistant. So, Pacquiao was appointed coach of Kia without any problem. As coach of Kia he exercised the prerogative to include himself in the roster of players of Kia.

No other Commissioner would have allowed that to happen, unless the Commissioner had political ambition. In which case, Pacquiao with his millions of adoring fans, would be the best endorser any political candidate can get. Why, even a Nevada re-electionist Senator Harry Reid asked Pacquiao, a Filipino citizen, to endorse his candidacy.

Now that Pacquiao has displayed his utter lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of basketball, PBA fans call his participation in PBA games a big joke just as his being a member of the House of Representatives a big joke. Former Senator Rene Saguisag, a basketball aficionado, says he should go. Sports columnist/broadcast commentator Chino Trinidad calls Pacquiao a big joke of a professional player. Someone wrote some time ago that Pacquiao is bad for the PBA.

Salud must be gnashing his teeth at those comments because they reflect on his very very bad decision to admit the unskilled Pacquiao as a player in the PBA. Too bad, those people are not under his jurisdiction. But when Purefoods’ import Daniel Orton called Pacquiao a big joke, Salud went overboard, fining the former US collegiate basketball star the stiff amount of P250,000.

Pacquiao may be bad for the PBA, but good for a man with political ambition.


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