"I am a Filipino, first and foremost".
Jose Bayani Baylon
The quote above was his reply during a podcast interview when asked the question, why he would lend his star players to the national team
Love for basketball, aside from Manny Pacquiao, is the identifying feature that most foreigners use to describe the Philippines. Our premier league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), is the flag bearer that represents this unique feature and it is my hope and prayer that the next commissioner of the PBA should not only be concerned about the fate of the corporations (SMCs or the MVPs) that are a part of the league, but the fate of Philippine basketball in the world stage.
Call me an idealist or a dreamer but i still have to cling on to the dream that, despite all our differences, we stand together against the world.
Last September, right after the FIBA World Cup, I remember listening to a Marc Pingris interview on The Bro Show. And when he was asked if he wished things were done differently, with great difficulty (because I bet he knew that to speak against his team/corp/league would result to fines and backlash) he made his opinion known that if only Gilas had been given more time to prepare, without the stress of wear and tear of their bodies they could have done alot better than just the 1 Win.
Kasi kitang kita naman...kaya eh. Nagkulang lang sa dulo. Pero kung mas matagal sana ang preparasyon, especially na kasama si Andrey Blatche.... diba? who knows how much farther we could have gone.
But we just had to have 3 conferences, didn't we? Even if it was shortened, the stress on the bodies of the players who made it to the playoffs and even finals, made them brittle.
Because the league, ultimately had to still be the priority not the nation.
And this is where Boss JB comes in.
We now have the possibility of hosting the FIBA World Cup. Can we, this time, have a PBA Commissioner that will put the PHILIPPINES as the #1 priority, and the Basketball Association as #2?
How do I know he won't succumb to the pressures of SMC-MVP franchises?
Baylon’s longtime aide-de-camp Jon Sacro bared that after their stint at Coke, offers to move to two high-profile PBA teams were surprisingly turned down by his boss.
“Inalok yan si boss JB ng dalawang teams, kaso sabi tinanggihan niya. Hindi dahil sa ayaw niya yung trabaho, kasi ayaw niya na magkasamaan ng loob ang dalawang companies,” said Sacro. (click to see whole article)
A man who grew up within the UP system (elem, high school, and college), who tells stories of assisting high ranking politicians during their rise to fame, but chooses to walk away from a high paying job because his principles cant stand the fact that the team that he called family, was being screwed. He wanted no part in that.
Why do I have so much faith in him? Three years ago, I was fortunate to be one of the fans who he approved to be his Facebook friend. I was able to witness the projects he shares on his timeline and the high profiled people he calls friends.
He who raise funds for the Philippine General Hospital, and brings iMacs to Rio Tuba, who organizes disaster relief efforts for Guian in Samar (after Yolanda), and just recently, was instrumental in the successful hosting of the PBA All-Star weekend in Palawan.
He shows that he has a heart that sees basketball players as human beings and not figures in the income statement. He has personal mission to help this nation rise again despite the corrupt culture of our government.
He is well loved by all the players that he has handled in his years as a PBA Governor for Coca-Cola/Powerade.
“Boss JB is a known tactician, he always has ready answers to every problem. He’s been one of my advisers and what I like about him is his ability to balance the interests of everyone,” - Asi Taulava
Finally, he has the brains, experience, and personal connections to successfully pull it off.
He has never given me any reason to question his love for the motherland. And hopefully, in putting the nation first, he can, through basketball, piece the fragmented sections of our country together via our love for basketball.
Click to DOWNLOAD the podcast of his interview
Please make the next Commissioner have the same "PUSO" that sacrifices personal gain and corporate glory for national pride. Please choose Sir JB Baylon.