THE PBA saw no problem with Chris Newsome signing with Hapee Toothpaste after Tanduay Light failed to hold on to the rights to the Ateneo star because of its failure to make a tender offer within the allowed period.
PBA operations manager Ricky Santos said Newsome’s decision to sign with Hapee was within the bounds of D-League rules, rebuffing Tanduay Light coach Lawrence Chongson who had sought the league’s intervention after losing the rights to the second overall pick of the rookie draft.
Santos said Tanduay Light wasn’t able to show proof that it was able to give Newsome a tender offer within the five-day period, automatically making him a free agent and free to sign with any team he wants.
“We didn’t receive any document that will prove that Tanduay tendered an offer to Newsome,” said Santos in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. “They were not able to prove that.”
“Nag-lapse na ‘yung deadline. After the deadline, Mr. Newsome was considered a rookie free agent. Nasa kanya na ang decision which team to play for,” Santos added.
Chongson had earlier cried foul over Newsome's move to Hapee, saying the Fil-American guard could not be found during the five-day D-League window for the tendering of token offers to rookie draftees.
The controversial Tanduay Light coach even wrote the PBA asking for its intervention in the row to “preserve the sanctity" of the developmental league's draft process.
But Santos defended the PBA D-League’s draft process, saying it follows the same rules applied in the PBA.
“It’s the same as the PBA draft. The tender offer, para lang alam ng office namin na nag-start na ang negotiations. After five days, choice na ng player na mapunta sa kahit anong team,” said Santos.
With the PBA decision, Newsome will now be joining a loaded Hapee lineup that also includes Garvo Lanete, Bobby Ray Parks, and Arnold Van Opstal as well as recently-crowned NCAA MVP Earl Scottie Thompson, Kirk Long, Marvin Hayes, and six players from San Beda which will be named at the end of the NCAA season.