Mendoza: New faces, big gates are PBA ‘hits’ year-A A +A
Friday, September 28, 2012
THERE is a mountain anew to scale and, if PBA Commissioner Chito Salud is to be believed, it can be done.
“We are optimistic to sustain the gains we had in the previous season,” Salud said during the press conference this week to announce the season’s 38th staging at the Diamond Hotel along Roxas Blvd. in Manila.
I wasn’t there, but Salud, who was still in short pants when I covered the organizational founding of the PBA in 1975 (I was very young then, of course, with my hair flowing down my back like the rest of beatniks of my generation), found time to call me up to apprise me of what happened at the presscon.
“I told our guests and your colleagues of our big gains in the last season and we are hopeful we can do more in the coming season to improve our tournament as well as our performance at the gates,” Salud said.
There are no less than 15 new faces joining the league this year, including Fil-Ams with credentials all raring to strut their wares starting tomorrow, September 30, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Already, everybody’s going gaga over June Mar Fajardo, the newest man-mountain who is almost 7 feet tall, who was the No. 1 pick of Petron Blaze.
Under the newly-minted coach Olsen Racela, Petron Blaze is pinning much of its hopes on Fajardo, who has shown extraordinary moves not usually found among Filipino cagers with a ceiling of nearly seven feet.
“The fans have clearly spoken,” said Salud, who, in only his sophomore stint at the helm, is already proving to be more than a chip off the old block of his father—the imminent Rudy Salud, the much-admired former commissioner himself who had passed on only a while back. “They want fast-paced action, balanced competition, and they’re looking forward to the new faces, who are none other than the rookies who will continue to challenge the veterans.”
Another Mt. Everest to be toppled again is the 2011-2012 revenue of P114 million gross, a monumental achievement that Salud said “would be a main mission to surpass.”
With the league’s track record of success, that’s almost a given.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2012.