ROOKIE direct hire before, free agent direct hire today.
After being denied the privilege to bring up direct hires from the amateur ranks when it makes its PBA debut this October, Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy is now considering tapping direct hires from the free agent market in the franchise’s bid to form a competitive roster in time for the 40th season of the league.
Sy said he wants to clarify first with the league if free agents who are unsigned and undrafted will still have to go through the dispersal draft involving the three expansion franchises.
They Said It!
“Sana naman malinawan na, kasi nag-invest din kami sa team na ito so we can come up with a competitive team. Sana huwag na kaming masyadong pahirapan. Kasi `yung existing teams, buo na ang team nila.” Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy
If not, then he’ll formally asked that Blackwater Sports – and fellow expansion teams Kia Motors and NLX – be allowed to bring along with them direct hire free agents.
“Gusto ko kasing i-clear kay Willie (Marcial, PBA media bureau chief) kung kailangan pa bang idaan sa draft ang mga unsigned and undrafted players,” said Sy.
“Kasi parang awkward eh. Free agent na ang mga 'yun, dadaan pa sa draft.”
The league board earlier denied the request of the three new teams to be able to sign rookie direct hires as had been the previous practice with incoming PBA franchises.
Instead, the board approved the `protect 12’ ruling which will have all 10 existing team members listing down their 12 priority players, with those left behind being put in the dispersal draft from which the three new ballclubs will get their players.
Likewise, all three rookie teams had been given their rights to select in the last three spots of the opening round of the 2015 rookie draft.
While he appreciated the leeway being given to them by the board, Sy still believed Blackwater and the two other expansion franchises will be left with too little time to form a cohesive unit.
“Pag drafting, we have to wait for July 24. Ang tagal di ba? Sana may direct hire na ng undrafted and unsigned para kahit seven to eight players makagalaw na kami, makapag-ensayo na,” said the Ever Bilena Cosmetics chief executive.
“Sa ngayon kasi hindi kami makapag-hold ng massive tryouts kasi hindi naman namin sure kung makukuha namin `yung players,” he said. “Kanina may ‘by invitation only tryout’ kami. Kaso hindi kami makapag-alok ng kontrata kasi wala akong ma-offer.”
So far, Sy said he is still waiting for the response of the PBA.
“Kasi kung kami lang, pwede na kaming magsimula ng full tryouts. Hindi kami makagalaw, kasi nga dadaan pa daw sa draft. Gusto na sana naming mag-prepare ng maaga.
“Yung players naman hindi alam ang future, hindi sila makapag-ensayo. Kasi walang kasiguruhan kung may kukuha ba sa kanila o wala,” said the former chairman of the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
Sy said the earlier he gets a clarification from the PBA, the better.
“Sana naman malinawan na, kasi nag-invest din kami sa team na ito so we can come up with a competitive team. Sana huwag na kaming masyadong pahirapan. Kasi `yung existing teams, buo na ang team nila eh,” he said. “Kami bago na nga, wala ng direct hire, wala pa ring linaw kung paano makakabuo ng maaga.”
“Sana yung outside of protect 12 at reserve, yun ang idaan sa draft. At least 40 players din naman 'yun. Saka yung mga yun, talagang competitive dahil part ng teams,” he added.
But despite the uncertainty, Sy insisted he will try his best to come up with a roster that can rival his success in the amateurs, where his franchise won titles both in the PBL and the PBA D-League.
“Ayaw ko kasing lumabas na lemon ang team namin sa inaugural season,” he said.
Meanwhile, Blackwater Sports formalized its entry to the league after paying a percentage of its P100-million franchise fee.
Incoming team alternate governor Wilbert Loa bared to Spin.ph that Sy has already furnished a post-dated check sent to the PBA office on Wednesday morning.
“Nagpadala na kami, nagbayad na kami. Hindi na namin hinintay 'yung May 14 deadline. Bakit pa namin papatagalin, ganun din 'yun,” said Loa.
Sy, for his part, declared that paying their franchise fee earlier only signifies the company’s keen interest to participate in what he calls as the most popular league in the country.
“This is to prove na talagang ready na kami to compete in the PBA. Sana lang, bigyan kami ng kaunti pang leeway,” Sy said.