Philippines, 18 Jan 2017
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Rudy Salud passes away

Philippine Sports lost one of its pillars with the death of lawyer Rudy Salud, who joined his creator due to lingering illness at the Medical City in Pasig. A lawyer by profession, Salud is known as a former commissioner of the professional Philippine Basketball Association and the founding secretary general of the World Boxing Council. He was 72 years old.
Salud was known as the man responsible in crafting the constitution and by-laws of both the PBA, the country’s and Asia’s first pro-basketball league, and the WBC, which incidentally, both turned 35 last year.
He served as PBA commissioner from 1988 to 1992, an era when the league rose from the brink of collapsing due to scandal brought about by listless officiating and reported game-fixing to regain its stature during the time of founding commissioner, the late Leo Prieto.

The first time he did upon assumption of the position, Salud fired half of the officiating force in a display of resolve and determination that restored to the PBA the respect it enjoyed with its fans earned under the helm of Prieto, who he often admitted, was his mentor.
Like his guru, Salud, whose eldest sibling Angelico (Chito) is the present PBA top honcho, cultivated friendship with sports media, whom he considered as major partner and reason for its existence from the time of its birth in 1975 up to the present time.
The well-loved sportsman and legal luminary is survived by wife Josephine, children Angelico, Renato, Priscilla, Arnold, Christine, Margaret, Annabel and their families.

Viewing will be on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Sta. Maria Della Strada Parish along Katipunan Road, cor. Pansol St. in Quezon City. Interment will be on Thursday.
 What not many know, however, is that had ‘Mamang Rudy’ as he was called by media men, accepted his nomination for him to succeed Jose Sulaiman after latter’s term had expired in the late 70s, the former could have been the only second Filipino to have assumed the highest post of the now most credible alphabet title-giving boxing body.

On December 5th, 1975, in Tunis , the capital of Tunisia , Don Jose was unanimously elected as the WBC President during the thirteenth Convention of the organization whose site Hotel was the Africa Hotel of Tunisia. Thirty two delegates from 21 countries then affiliated to the WBC, including then Games and Amusements Board chair and Cavite Congressman Justiniano Montano Jr. and Salud, his executive secretary, took part in the Convention.

Montano himself served as WBC’s third president succeeding Luis Spota, also of Mexico , who replaced the body’s first top man, Onslow Fane, who was named to the post upon its formation in 1963 but stepped down two years later.

Salud, meanwhile was appointed by Spota as WBC secretary general, a position he also held during Montano’s watch. As WBC secretary general under Spota, Salud a lawyer, served as concurrent chair of the influential world ratings committee and the world championship committee and was responsible for formulating the rules governing the twin committees.
Sulaiman, actually, was the secretary general of Jorge Velasquez, another Mexican, who served as WBC head from 1971 to 1975.

Following the WBC charter’s four-year rule in regards to its president’s term and under the traditional rotation system, Salud was to replace Sulaiman as the organization top honcho in 1979.

Salud declined the nomination though for reason of delicadeza because of Montano’s position as GAB chairman. 
“Jun was still the GAB chairman at the time of my supposed assumption of the WBC presidency and I could not accept that,” Salud told this writer in an interview several years back.“Imagine, I as his executive secretary, would assume a position higher than his. That’s to me is unacceptable.”  

“So it was agreed that I would assume the WBC presidency when Jun was no longer the GAB chairman,” he explained.
That did not happen. Then President Marcos’ declaration of martial Law eventually forced Montano to resign from his position and so did Salud, thus, depriving Salud the right to be elevated and the country of what could have been a high point in Philippine sports.

And who knows, Salud could have been honored as the longest serving WBC president instead of Sulaiman.

Sulaiman’s term, as a result was extended for another term that was to further be extended to 35 years as no one dared challenge him for the post since. While credit should be given to Sulaiman for his successful stewardship of the WBC, it should be noted that it was under the partnership of Montano and Salud when boxing took a semblance of unity, not only within the organization but, likewise, within its rival factions. 
In his book – “the Story of the World Boxing Council” – boxing historian Bobby Naidoo described Montano and Salud as the duo that “worked solidly to consolidate world unity in boxing.” 
With the two Filipinos at the helm, the door of opportunity for Asian – Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans and Thais – to get cracks at the world titles had been open.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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