Thanks but no thanks: Eric Salamat dropped by Aguilas after playing hero's role in ABL debut
Eric Salamat, right, and Emerson Oreta face uncertain futures after getting the cut from the reshuffled Pilipinas MX3 Kings (formerly Pilipinas Aguilas). Snow Badua

JOURNEYMAN guard Eric Salamat was left in shock when he was dropped by the Pilipinas MX3 Kings, just weeks after being named the Best Player in the team's first win in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

Salamat, Emerson Oreta and fellow Game One hero Val Acuna said they were told not to join Aguilas practices as the team went through a reshuffle under the sole management of businessman Dick Balajadia, who renamed the former Pilipinas Aguilas after a split with former co-owner Manny Pacquiao.

Salamat told he is now at a loss on his next career move, just weeks after surprising many scouts when he scored eight points to go with five steals, five assists and three rebounds in the team's 79-78 win over Thai side Mono Vampire in Davao City.

“Syempre, masama ang loob pero di mo maiwasan yun eh. Nangyayari talaga yun, wala tayo magagawa roon,” said Salamat. “Hindi ko naman masabing foul (yung nangyari) pero masakit yun eh."

Prior to joining the Aguilas tryouts, Salamat said he had offers to play for his former PBA D-League team Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in the newly opened Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL).

“Problema talaga namin ngayon kung saan kami lalaro. Alam naming sa kontrata namin na may sure kaming lalaruan ng six months,” he said of a contract he signed with the Aguilas that is to expire on March 2016.

“Pwede sana kami sa PCBL o ibang liga, pwede naman eh, di ba? Kaso naging priority ko yung Aguilas kasi may kontrata na. So 'yun, problema 'yun,” added Salamat.

[Read Realubit steps down as Aguilas coach as internal strife hits ABL team]

Oreta, a former reserve guard of Talk n Text Tropang in the PBA, is in the same boat.

Asked about the explanation of the management on the sudden rescinding of their contracts, Oreta bared it was due to the financial woes that hounded the ballclub following the falling-out between the co-owners.

“Pinapalabas nila lack of budget, so kami naisip nila i-sacrifice para matuloy 'yung team. Yung kontrata ko na lang ang problema ko ngayon. May live contract ako hanggang March pa eh,” said Oreta.

Oreta said team management have offered to buy out their contracts.

“Bale ang gusto nila, yung six months na contract ko na pinirmahan sa kanila, i-buy out nila. Kaso hindi ko gusto 'yung terms dahil one month lang ang alok nila,” he said.


The former University of Santo Tomas guard said he, too, faces an uncertain future as he worries about bills as well as the studies of his two young children.

“Wala, kailangan ko maghanap agad, kungdi kawawa pamilya ko. Nag-aaral na pareho mga anak ko. Minsan napapagod rin ako mag-isip,” said Oreta.

He hopes their situation can be sorted out upon the return of Pacquiao from an overseas trip.

“Uncertain talaga ang future ko ngayon, pinaka the best hintayin namin si boss Manny (Pacquiao) para malaman namin kung ano ang magiging sitwasyon,” he said.

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