DESPITE the scandal Jamelle Cornley got involved with, the Rain or Shine management is hopeful a lifetime ban won’t be meted by the PBA Commissioner’s Office on the beleaguered import.
Team manager Boy Lapid stressed that Cornley’s shenanigans happened outside the playing court, and the Penn State educated player never dragged the league or the team into the mess he got involved in.
“Sana naman hindi siya i-ban ni commissioner (Chito) Salud, kasi since mangyari `yung incident sa lahat ng interviews ni Jamelle, hindi niya binanggit o dinawit ang PBA,” said Lapid moments after the import was released from jail Monday night.
“Sabihin man nating na-associate siya sa liga, pero sa labas na ng court nangyari `yung insidente. Wala naman siyang masamang record na ginawa habang naglalaro sa PBA,” added Lapid.
Salud earlier hinted that Cornley may not be allowed to play in the league again – at least under his watch – if and when he fails to settle the allegations and charges hurled against him.
For his part, Rain or Shine team governor Mert Mondragon reaffirmed the company’s profound gratitude to Cornley for giving the franchise its first title in the PBA, but made clear it is now severing its support of the import.
“Moral obligation namin sa kanya ito, kaya hindi namin siya iniwan,” explained the former PBA chairman. “Pero sabi ko nga sa kanya, may abugado na siya, tapos na ang obligasyon namin sa kanya, sariling game plan na niya iyan.”
At the same time, the soft-spoken Rain or Shine governor hinted that they’ve previously informed Cornley about the team’s plan to tap his services again for the coming Governors Cup that has been re-scheduled to open on August 14.
But that was prior to last week’s incident when Cornley made a scene at a Quezon City hotel after losing his US$1,400 in cash to three lady thieves.
“Before the incident nasabihan na namin siya na sa third conference at maayos siya, competitive siya, pwede naming kunin siya. Pero nuon yun bago ito mangyari,” said Mondragon.
“Ngayon pag-iisipan namin kung kukunin siya.”
Here's a video of Cornley's release from jail and interviews with Rain or Shine officials:
“Of course, natural lang `yun (na tutulungan namin si Jamelle sa kaso sa PBA), kasi alam naman naming mabait `yung tao. Saka willing naman siya na harapin `yung kaso niya,” added Lapid.
The Rain or Shine executive also echoed the promise made by Cornley to act more appropriately in public from here on.
“Nag-learn na siya ng lesson. Kumbaga, PBA (player siya) tapos ngayon andito siya (sa kulungan), siguro hindi na niya uli gagawin yang manggulo dito (sa bansa),” stressed Lapid.
But Lapid remains mum on whether Cornley will still have a second tour of duty to the same team he steered to its first-ever league championship during last year’s Governors Cup.
“Focus muna kami sa present conference, lalo ngayon nasa itaas kami ng Alaska. Bahala na rin si coach Yeng (Guiao) mag-decide dyan after the Commissioner’s Cup,” he reiterated.