BEAU Belga, who rose from being a fringe player to one of the league's biggest stars at Rain or Shine, has started negotiations for a new contract to replace his old one which expires at the end of the season.
Chances are, the wide-bodied big man will get a big, fat raise.
“Expiring na ang contract ni Beau, pero nagne-negosasyon na kami,” confirmed Rain or Shine board representative Mamerto Mondragon, adding he doesn't expect any complications in the negotiations.
“Ang usapan namin ni Beau, after this quarterfinals mag-uusap uli kami. Wala naman sigurong kumplikasyon.”
The former league chairman revealed the Belga camp has made it known that it wants the maximum league salary, currently pegged at P420,000 a month, in the former PCU Dolphin's next contract.
Mondragon admitted several "big teams" are interested in Belga, who he said has nonetheless assured that he will consult Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao in whatever decision he makes.
“Sabi nga niya may mga malalaki raw team na nag-o-offer. Pero sabi ko nga, sana i-consider niya yung mga pinagsamahan namin,” Mondragon said.
“Nangako naman si Beau na kung anuman ang desisyon na gagawin niya, iko-konsulta raw niya sa coach namin. So malaking bagay ang relasyon at respeto niya kay coach Yeng,” Mondragon added.
For his part, Guiao has encouraged Belga to show his worth in the current PBA Governors' Cup playoffs to raise his bargaining power in the negotiations.
Belga, currently averaging 6.75 points, 5.31 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in the tournament, is playing under a mandatory two-month extension, after his original contract expired last August 31.
“Actually, gusto ni Beau na mag-stay, ang question lang naman is economics - his salary. May solusyon naman dun eh. Magpakita muna siya, baka mas lalong madaling pag-usapan,” Guiao said.
Asked if the Gilas Pilipinas reserve is already deserving of a maximum pay, the fiery mentor was non-committal.
“Ayokong magsalita ng figures. Kasi hindi naman totally my call 'yun eh. Pero siguro close to that (maximum pay),” Guiao replied.