Encarnado Could Be The Next PBA Commissioner

On: 26 February 2015

Boyet Fernandez and Buddy Encarnado
Buddy Encarnado, a Sta. Lucia Realtor for life, is expected to be a major contender when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Board of Governors tries to identify who will be the viable replacement for Commissioner Chito Salud.

Salud announced a few days ago that he is stepping down from his post by the end of the season after serving as commissioner for five seasons. League chairman Patrick Gregorio said he expects names of possible successor to Salud to crop up during of their regular meetings.

It was not surprising that Encarnado was seriously considered given his track record. His basketball roots date back to the days of ESQ Marketing a team coached by Joe Lipa which pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the old Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) when it beat San Miguel Corporation-backed Lagerlite in a 1985 finals.

During his time with the Sta. Lucia Realtors, the team made news by signing Jun Limpot to the biggest contract in PBA history at that time in the 1990s. Still, the Realtors failed to win a title even after Limpot teamed up with Dennis Espino.

The Realtors finally won its first PBA championship in the 2001 Governors’ Cup under Norman Black and won a second one in the 2007-2008 Philippine Cup under Boyet Fernandez.

During his stint with the Realtors, Encarnado pleaded to the board to increase the number of maximum allowable number of Fil-foreigners per team. He also concedes that the Fil-Ams raise the level of the sport.

"Probably, we have better players right now, with all the Fil-Ams, malalaki, magagaling, they can jump. But I’m telling you, between you and me, where is the fervor? Hindi kagaya noon, magtatalo tayo. ‘Hindi. Mas magaling si Jaworski. Magaling si Fernandez.’ Pero ngayon wala. Sino iyong magaling na Fil-Am? People don’t know and don’t care."

Encarnado also insists that the public needs a homegrown hero to rally behind. Manny Pacquiao is immensely popular because he is homegrown. Compare him with another boxer, Brian Viloria. Who is supported by the people?

"Let us develop our homegrown instead of us trying to take the shortcut of getting the best from others," said Encarnado. "Nand’yan lang ang mga players. But we have to exert the effort to discover the young talented, obscure Filipino players. Let's go out and find them and give them exposure in the PBA."

In 2008, Encarnado was given the Danny Floro Executive of the Year Award in recognition of his work wherein he spearheaded a master plan that pieced together the materials in their championship run on March of that same year.

He was also lauded by his fellow PBA officials for sacrificing a crack at a season sweep by sacking Realtor wayward import Lee Benson in a crucial game the team could not afford to lose in the Fiesta Conference quarterfinals.

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