ALASKA Milk rookie sensation Calvin Abueva and power forward Gabby Espinas escaped penalty on Wednesday for violating their contracts after being caught on video playing in a non-league game in Sta. Maria, Bulacan without the team and the pro league's consent.
Instead, Commissioner Chito Salud admonished the contrite Alaska pair, who had earlier made written apologies for the escapade, and warned not to make the same mistake of putting their careers at risk.
“I called them up and I basically told them na di naman natin sinisikipan ang mundo nila,” Salud told Spin.ph. “But I reminded them of their commitment to their mother club, the fans and the PBA in general."
Salud said he understands that as young athletes, it’s common for them to be invited to play pick-up or exhibition games, yet, he told them to be prudent in their decision the next time around.
“These are young athletes and I understand na gusto lang naman nila makisama. Ngayon, pinangako na nila na di na nila uli yun gagawin,” he added.
"There was no intention on their part to circumvent their contract.”
Last weekend, the PBA commissioner ordered Abueva and Espinas to write letters to the league explaining why they should not be penalized for violating the UPC that all PBA players signed.
In an official statement, Salud also took the time to remind all the PBA players of their responsibility to their respective mother teams.
"Ipinapaalala lamang po sa lahat ng ating mga manlalaro sa PBA na kailangan nilang humingi ng permiso sa kanilang mga mother teams kung sila ay may paanyayang maglaro sa mga liga sa labas ng PBA habang offseason," he said.
“Ito ay maliwanag na nakasaad sa kanilang mga kontrata. Ang pangunahing layunin nito ay mapangalagaan ang ating mga manlalaro sa mga injuries na pihong makakadanyos di lamang sa kanilang mga mother ballclubs kundi sa buong liga."
A contrite Abueva explained that he played in the exhibition game on the invitation of his cousin.
"Humihingi po ako ng paumanhin sa aking paglalaro sa isang liga sa Sta. Maria, Bulacan. Mayroon po akong pinsan doon, na siyang nag-anyaya sa akin upang maglaro bilang guest player at magbigay ng kasiyahan sa mga tao.
“Sa aking pagkakaalam pwede pong maglaro sa maliliit na liga pag off-season. Ngunit ngayon po ay alam ko na, na hindi pwede, at pinapangako ko po na hindi na mauulit ang ganitong pangyayari. Salamat po,” said the rookie.
On the other hand, Espinas said that he only played in the same exhibition game in Sta. Maria, Bulacan on Abueva’s request to entertain the Bulakenos.