REIGNING PBA D-League champion NLEX has barred star big man Ian Sangalang from practicing with the Road Warriors until a tug-of-war for his services in the Foundation Cup is resolved.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said management has asked the NCAA MVP not to show up for practices for the moment while the league decides for which team he should suit up in the conference.
Aside from NLEX, also vying for Sangalang's services is the EA Regen Med Group team of former Lubao mayor Dennis Pineda, who is the Pampanga native's longtime patron and manager.
“We will not allow Ian to practice until he will have a clearance from the PBA or from management,” said Fernandez.
At the moment, Sangalang is not in the official lineup of either NLEX or EA Regen Med Group submitted to the league.
But Fernandez, who led the Road Warriors to the league's first four titles, stressed Sangalang is still under contract with NLEX and, in fact, continues to receive his stipend from the team despite the short break in between conferences.
“We still give Ian his salary, ganoon pa rin. We’ll take good care of the guy,” Fernandez said.
The NLEX coach is confident the league's Best Player awardee last conference will be suiting up for the Road Warriors by virtue of his live contract which runs until the end of June.
“I know deep inside that Ian has a contract with us, so I still believe Ian’s rights are still with NLEX,” said Fernandez.
“But still, we respect Mayor Pineda so it’s management’s call for now. I’ll just wait,” said Fernandez.