FIVE top players of Asean Basketball League (ABL) side Pilipinas MX3 Kings have agreed to buyouts of their contracts as losses and turmoil continue to hound the team's first season in the regional league.
PBA veterans Sunday Salvacion, Jondan Salvador, Chad Alonzo, Emerson Oreta and Adriann Celada have agreed to buyouts equivalent to one-and-a-half month pay than agree to a considerable pay cut in the duration of their six-month contracts.
The Kings management is also in negotiations with another former PBA forward, Carlo Sharma, on a similar buyout.
The buyouts come just weeks after a split between businessman Dick Balajadia and former co-owner Manny Pacquiao led to the resignation of head coach Zaldy Realubit.
“Wala na, kinagat na naming 'yung buyout. Walang nangyayari eh. Magulo ang management dun, parang wala na ring patutunguhan,” said Salvador, a former enforcer of the Purefoods franchise in the PBA.
Salvador bared he was forced to bite the offer after management moved to cut their agreed upon salaries in half.
“Kinuha na lang namin kesa naman magtiis pa kami sa kalahating sweldo na inaalok nila,” added Salvador, who bared he is now mulling retirement to focus on his car financing business.
“Ayaw ko na muna mag-basketball. Magulo eh, sumasakit lang ulo ko. Baka mag-retire na lang din ako, may business naman na kami ng family, dun na lang ako focus,” said the wide-bodied Paranaque City native.
Salvacion said he is keeping himself in shape for the next call-up.
“No comment na lang ako dun (sa ABL contract ko). Dito na lang muna ko sa may amin sa Antipolo, laro-laro na lang kami ng mga kaibigan ko para hindi mawala yung timing at yung kundisyon andun pa rin," he said.
Newly appointed Pilipinas MX3 Kings team manager Jean Alabanza explained why they had to streamline the lineup.
“Hindi kasi balance 'yung roster eh. Minana na lang namin ito eh,” said Alabanza. “We’re focusing on coming up with a lean group of players, right now, we only have ten. Nakikita kasi namin na pag madaming players, mahirap kumilos eh. Every game, kailangan naming mag upo ng players, kasi dose lang naman pwede i-line-up."
Alabanza said since cutting ties with Pacquiao, the team is trying to cut on expenses while at the same time keeping the team competitive under new coach Jack Santiago.
“Dahil nawala 'yung tie-up namin with Pacquiao group, kailangan naming mag-cut ng cost,” he said. “Nagtanggal kami ng players, some of them, magagaling pa, kaso we can’t afford some of them. The others (are) duplication of position, so we decided to just take a core of players.”
Alabanza bared that they are also looking to make an import change soon, with former University of the East center Charles Mammie set to go.
“We are hoping to have a new import arriving, he’ll partner with our other reinforcement, Arizona Reid,” he said while revealing that an explosive Fil-American guard will also be joining the team that is still spearheaded by two-time PBA MVP Willie Miller.
Currently, the Pilipinas MX3 Kings are somewhere near the bottom of the ABL standings with a 1-4 win-loss card, just half a game ahead of sixth-running Mono Vampire-Thailand.