DANNY Ildefonso’s unconditional release from the Blackwater Elite camp may not happen afterall.
Team owner Dioceldo Sy had a change of heart after officials of different PBA ballclubs adviced and encouraged him from releasing the two-time league MVP without getting anything in return.
“I was supposed to just release him so other teams can just easily pick him up. But there are some longtime PBA insiders who told me not to do so,” said Sy during the press launch of the Blackwater Elite team Tuesday at the Tao Yuan Restaurant in Ermita, Manila.
“I think the advice given to me was valid,” said the newbie PBA team owner.
Sy said he realized that releasing Ildefonso to the free agent market would create a precedent wherein a team can just intentionally drop a player who can be easily picked up by a partner or sister team.
“May point sila eh. Baka maging precedent na ire-release 'yung player, tapos may usapan na pala sa ibang teams. Saka hindi rin maganda na pakawalan lang namin ng walang kapalit,” he said.
The Ever Bilena Cosmetics CEO and president also denied shipping Ildefonso to Meralco unconditionally, especially now that Blackwater just completed a trade deal with the Bolts and its sister team NLEX.
“Mahirap rin yun kasi baka isipin ng iba may kasunduan kami lagi,” he said.
But Sy admitted feeling bad after Ildefonso turned down the two-year, P5.1 million deal offered to him by Blackwater, which could mean a P225,000 monthly paycheck for the 36-year-old veteran.
“Nalungkot nga ako eh. Kasi I was really looking after his welfare and wanted to give him a fitting conclusion to his colorful career. I didn’t expect that things will turn out this way,” said Sy, who picked the big man out of National University as the top pick in the last dispersal draft.
Here's a video of interview with Dioceldo Sy and Commissioner Chito Salud:
“Kung tutuusin nga, ginawa namin siya na first pick nung dispersal draft, favoring him over Larry Rodriguez, Ronnie Matias, and our very own Reil Cervantes, kasi we wanted to give him the respect due him as a two-time MVP,” added the amiable team owner.
“Kaso kailangang humantong rito. Sayang.”
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, meanwhile, referred to the team’s failure to sign up Ildefonso as ‘divine intervention.’
“Yung nangyari, as the way it goes, parang may divine intervention. Magiging mabuti para sa dalawang partido. Sa laro niya pwede pang makipag-compete sa ibang big men, pero yung worthy of his prize… hindi ko masagot ng diretso,” Isaac said.
For his part, league commissioner Chito Salud insisted he will always have an open door to mediate in contractual disputes such as the one involving Blackwater and Ildefonso.
“The league will not tolerate any player or agent who will hostage a team. This is a stern warning to all,” Salud said.
“Good people reason together, of course one will take a stance… the other one will take a stance… But in the end there are rules, if they do not arrive at an agreement they can always bring it up to the office of the commissioner,” added the strict league chieftain.