MAC Belo is facing possible court action if he plays for MJM Builders in the PBA D-League and, essentially, doesn’t honor the contract Tanduay Light claimed he signed with the team last year.
Tanduay Light head coach Lawrence Chongson said he has a strong case against Belo as the Far Eastern University star is entering the final year of his two-year contract with the Asia Brewery franchise - and therefore should play for no other team other than the Rhum Masters.
Even though he has a live contract with Tanduay Light, Belo is included in the official lineup of the MJM Builders, a new ballclub with a school tie-up with the FEU Tamaraws.
The PBA approved Belo’s inclusion based on a signed player membership form, sparking a tug-of-war for his services.
But Chongson said the live contract should stand since Belo has signed to play for Tanduay Light from October 2013 to May 2014, and from October 2014 to May 2015.
“May kontrata sa amin ‘yan. The PBA is staying away from it because it is an internal issue. Sabi ko nga, maybe wala kaming right kay Belo sa PBA court pero sa court of law, may right kami kay Belo,” said the controversial head coach.
Incidentally, Tanduay Light is set to open its Aspirants Cup campaign on Monday against MJM Builders, which will be playing its second game of the conference.
Curiously, Belo was nowhere to be found in MJM’s game against Cagayan Valley on Thursday, with FEU officials saying he has suffered an injury.
Chongson, who is also the Tanduay Light's head of operations, said he is inclined to take the issue to court to protect the rights of the company.
“Dalawa ang position ko sa team. Ako ‘yung head coach at head of operations. Dalawa ang sentiment ko diyan. As head coach, mahirap ipaglaban ‘yung taong ayaw sa 'yo. Pero ine-expect ng management sa akin na proteksyunan ang interest ng kumpanya.
“May kontrata siya. Ayaw ng management na hayaan lang mawala ng ganun lang,” said Chongson while showing the contract of Belo to mediamen on Thursday night.
Chongson, however, made it clear that a court action will be the last resort as he wants to salvage the team’s relationship with Belo.
“Mas gusto ko na nga lang mamasyal o iba na lang ang gawin kesa problemahin si Belo. Pero may kausap na kaming abugado. Pero bibibigyan namin siya ng time para ma-salvage ko pa ‘yung sitwasyon. Hahayaan ko na lang na to come to his senses na dapat i-honor ang kontrata,” said Chongson.
Tanduay Light is already reeling from the loss of its rights to Chris Newsome, who was selected by the squad in the first round of the rookie draft but was left without a token offer when the five-day period for signing draftees lapsed.
The former Ateneo forward became a free agent and signed with powerhouse Hapee.
After Newsome’s case, Chongson said they won’t let go of Belo without a fight.
“Kailangan ko ipaglaban ‘yan. Second-round draft pick ko si Belo last year, nauna pa ‘yung mga kung sino-sino. Short of saying, hindi ka pa talaga Mac Belo last year, naging Mac Belo ka 'nung dumaan ka sa amin,” said Chongson.