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    Blackwater owner Sy to request for two direct-hire signings, keen to bring up Kevin Ferrer and Jericho Cruz

    Apr 12, 2014

    BLACKWATER Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy said he will submit a letter of inquiry to PBA commissioner Chito Salud with regards to the initial concessions granted to the league's three newest teams, adding he hopes to be given direct-hire privileges and a wider pool of players to pick from.

    The outspoken former PBL chairman admitted being confused on why Blackwater Sports and fellow expansion clubs Kia Motors and NLEX were not allowed to bring in direct hires - a privilege given to previous expansion teams in the 39-year-old professional league.

    Before the biggest wave of new teams to be welcomed to the league's fold, the PBA's last expansion team, Red Bull, was given the privilege to bring up six players from its amateur team.

    On Friday, Salud announced the board will take a second look at the concessions initially given to the three - an expansion draft where the existing 10 teams will be allowed to protect 14 players as well as the 11th, 12th, and 13th picks in the rookie draft which will be decided by a lottery.

    Sy admitted the three expansion teams will find it hard to form a competitive team under the present parameters.

    "Magtatanong lang naman kami (pero) sana mabago. Kasi mahihirapan talaga kaming bumuo ng competitive team," said Sy, who has built champion teams in his many years in the PBL and D-League.

    The president of giant cosmetics chain Ever Bilena said he hopes the three new teams will be given the chance to pick two direct-hire recruits each - a right he hopes to exercise to pick UAAP stars Kevin Ferrer of University of Santo Tomas and Jerico Cruz of Adamson.

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    Sy added the six direct-hire players won't make much of a dent on the rookie pool from where the other teams will pick next season.

    "Tig dadalawang direct hires kami ng NLEX at Kia, anim na players lang yun, manipis na lang 'yun. Hindi naman na siguro makaka-apekto ng malaki sa draft 'yun," said the billionaire businessman.

    Sy also hopes the current 'protect 14' scheme will be reduced further, saying the 15th and 16th players in the lineups of the existing PBA ballclubs are mostly 'practice players.'

    He said the dispersal draft should only involve players not protected by the current PBA ballclubs, adding veteran free agents and unsigned rookies should be free to sign with any team.

    "Hindi naman namin minamaliit 'yung free agent market, kaya lang nagtataka kami kasi free agent na 'yun, bakit kailangan pang i-draft. Sana ang i-draft yung galing sa mga teams," he said.

    "Dapat pag drafted but unsigned dapat pwede na naming kunin ng diretso yun," Sy added. "After 14 kasi, practice player na ng iba 'yun."

    PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo, for his part, assured the initial concessions are still subject to change.

    "Pwede pang mabago yun. Remember that the meeting last Thursday is just for the approval of the application. The concession will be discussed on a separate day," he said while revealing that the board will meet again on April 24 to tackle the matter.

    Sy bared that Blackwater Sports team manager Johnson Martines will personally submit the letter to the PBA office on Monday.

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