20 February 2015

Part 4: What is the Legacy of Commissioner Salud?

Paul Lee
Last of Four Parts

With the score at 104-101 and just seconds remaining in the game at the MOA Arena, Elasto Painter Paul Lee went for a triple, despite being covered by Mixers forward Marc Pingris. Many game watchers believed that Pingris jumped and leaned toward Lee, which warrants a foul.

Of course, a few followers of San Mig tried to justify the action by applying the principle of verticality, in which the defender must jump straight up to challenge the attempt. Unfortunately, several cameras captured the jump and can be seen as not strictly straight, with his momentum carrying him slightly to make contact with Lee.

Strike two for Salud came when he said that it was a "50/50 judgment call" for the referees and could have gone either way. As the league’s commissioner, who is rumoured to be favouring the three San Miguel Corporation teams, including San Mig, Salud should have used all available resources, including the camera to justify his ruling. Unfortunately, it did not appear that way.

Should we be thankful that there was no strike three?

Unimpressed with Impressive Numbers

Salud spearheaded the celebration to honor PBA’s 40 greatest players of all time. He disclosed that the "unveiling" will be done on April 2015 at the Resorts World Manila.

The seven-man body formed to select the remaining 15 players was headed by chairman Freddie Webb with Robert Jaworski, PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio, PBA vice chairman Robert Non, Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusement and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite, PBA press corps president Barry Pascua and Quinito Henson as members.

Everything appeared uneventful and was considered moot and academic since everyone knows who really deserved the award. Hence, it was surprising that the selection process became a trending topic recently, no thanks to a very significant omission and selection blunder.

Everyone who followed the league in the 1980’s to the 90’s are very familiar with the 6-foot-3 power-forward Nelson Asaytono and in what he can do.

The former third pick in the 1989 draft spent 17 seasons in the league and joined 5 different teams. He had his best game when he was with Swift (1992-1995) and San Miguel (1997-1998).

The former University of Manila star is fifth in the PBA all-time scoring list with with 12,268 total points, behind only Ramon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Alvin Patrimonio and Atoy Co. He is also No. 4 all time in free throws made with 2,999, 11th in the all-time rebounding list (4,469) and ninth overall in most games played at 820.

All throughout his career, Asaytono achieved the following:
  • 3-time PBA Mythical First Team (1992, 1993, 1997)
  • 4-time PBA Mythical Second Team (1994, 1995, 1996, 1998)
  • 2-time PBA Best Player of the Conference (1997 All-Filipino Cup, 1998 All Filipino Cup)
  • 10-Time PBA All-Star (1989-1993, 1995-99)
By statistics alone, Asaytono really stood out. So, why was he snubbed by the selection committee? Do these numbers pale in comparison, for example, with those of Marc Pingris?

As an 11-year veteran, Pingris can only muster 4,191 points and 3,858 rebounds. If he can maintain his production in the next six years , which is a very big assumption, then Pingris may be able to surpass Asaytono’s total number of rebounds. However, in terms of scoring, that is highly doubtful.

We still haven’t heard any explanation from the PBA and Salud how the system of selection was made, but it will probably include some lame excuses about Asaytono’s out-of-court behaviour or something to that effect.


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