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Easier to be a Pope than be a PBA Commissioner

JB Baylon has worked with the PBA as a governor for the old Coca-Cola franchise for 10 years and would have been a league chairman had the owners of their basketball team didn’t agree to sell its basketball team.

So when his name cropped up as among the candidates to become the next PBA commissioner, Baylon was asking whether it’s another episode of “someone who has never been.”      

“At first natawa ako when I saw my name there. I thought when I left the PBA, I will remain to be a fan,” said Baylon during a telephone conversation. “My second reaction was ano ba ito? Pinaglalaruan ba ako because before, I was supposed to be chairman pero hindi natuloy. Now, someone wants me to become the next commissioner?”

Even his boss at Nickel Asia, where Baylon works as an executive, was also asking how serious he is about becoming the next commissioner.

“Honestly, I wanted to retire at Nickel Asia. But when my boss, Mr. Gerard Brimo (CEO and president) asked me, ‘you’re not serious, right? I told him it’s my dream job. But it’s not a question of ‘Do I have to do it? It’s more of a question of ‘how do I do it right?” added Baylon.

A team owner called up Baylon trying to pursue him to consider the position. For the former Powerade Pilipinas team manager, it makes the matter more complicating for him.    

“Mas nakunsensya ako to give it serious consideration. Lalong tumindi ‘yung dilemma,” he added.

For Baylon, a commissioner’s job is more delicate than any other people who has high stature in the society and should he become the next commissioner, it would be his most challenging role ever.

“It’s because it’s easier to become a Pope than to become a commissioner. The commissioner could be infallible, while the Pope is not,” he added.

In the end, Baylon has decided to seriously consider the position.

“It won’t be offered to you, because from the start, you would have declined right away kung talagang hindi ka interesado. I’m seriously considering it (becoming a PBA commissioner),” added Baylon.

Baylon had seen the PBA reaching greater heights over the last five years under the leadership of Chito Salud.    

“Ibang klase ‘yung nangyari sa PBA the past five years under Commissioner Chito. The PBA is now the premier league in a country, where basketball is the premier sport,” said Baylon. “The next commissioner should just re-energize the base and how would they deepen. In fact, as far as situation is concerned, mas maganda nga ‘yung katayuan ng PBA kaysa sa NBA because the PBA isn’t competing with anyone now. Sa NBA, marami silang kalaban because in America, baseball is the favorite past time. Sa Pilipinas, basketball is the premier sport.” 

Whoever will become the next commissioner, Baylon believes he/she will have an easier time because the framework had already been laid out by the board as far as restructuring the PBA is concerned.

“It seems the board has already laid out the framework. Normally kasi, the CEO would push the board to do it, but in the PBA, it seems the board had already set the direction of the league. The next commissioner should not worry about so much, because he/she doesn’t have to look at the past or what the previous commissioner has achieved. He/she should bring his own shoes.”

What if he becomes the next commissioner?

“My only promise is, it’s going to be fun,” added Baylon.

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