CHRIS Ellis, Carlo Lastimosa, and Jonas Villanueva are among the prominent names left out in the cold as the 43rd PBA season comes off the wraps on Sunday.
The three have been relegated to the unrestricted free agent list by Blackwater and NLEX, respectively - the reason their names were not on the official 15-man rosters of their teams – neither in the reserved/and injury list - released by the league on Friday.
Both Lastimosa and Villanueva have live contracts with the Road Warriors, and any team that will pick them from the free agent market will have to automatically assume those obligations.
“Right now, yes (they have live contracts),” said NLEX executive Ronald Dulatre. “But we already talked to them.”
The case of Ellis is quite different.
The 29-year-old wingman has no existing deal with the Elite, and management won’t offer him any especially since he showed up for team practice just once since being dealt by Barangay Ginebra to Blackwater.
“No contract, no show, e,” said a high Blackwater team official.
Ellis, the sixth pick overall by Ginebra in the 2012 draft, was initially hospitalized due to leptospirosis in the early weeks since being involved in a trade that also included Dave Marcelo, Art dela Cruz, and Raymund Aguilar. But he has not reported for practice since then to the disappointment of the entire Blackwater management.
Team owner Dioceldo Sy later admitted the Elite tried to trade away Ellis, but disclosed there were no takers for his services.
Other prominent names in the free agent market include Chris Lutz, MacMac Cardona, Denok Miranda, John Wilson, Jeric Teng, Gary David, Jason Deutchman, Josan Nimes, Keith Jensen, and Aaron Aban.
Lutz was picked up by Meralco last season but never got to come back from injury; Cardona's comeback with GlobalPort turned out to be brief while Teng was left unsigned by KIA, the last PBA team he played for in a journeyman career.
David, on the other hand, may be heading to retirement at 39.