FORMER players and management staff of Powerade – including a former PBA MVP voted as one of the league's 25 greatest of all-time – will sit down with Commissioner Chito Salud on Monday as they seek help in getting just compensation for their live contracts with the defunct franchise.
The meeting is set at 3 p.m., according to team manager Kenneth Duremdes, who will personally attend the dialogue at the PBA office along with assistant team manager Gerard Francisco, assistant coach George Ella and 10 other team staffers who were left in limbo following the sale of the Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. team lock, stock, and barrel, to Sultan 900 Inc.
Duremdes said all they want is to be enlightened if they were indeed part of the total sale of the Powerade franchise – amounting to more than P100 million - to the capital investment firm owned by Mikee Romero.
If not, the group is seeking the help of the league to have their respective one-year contracts honored by the former owners.
“We’re just asking for fairness. We just want to know kung ano ba `yung napagkasunduan sa bentahan, and kung sino ba talaga ang dapat mag-honor nung contract namin,” said Duremdes, the 1998 league MVP.
Members of the group, composed of staffers and players who were not absorbed by Global Port after the franchise changed hands, had earlier written Salud seeking help for their plight.
Others who still have remaining contracts with Powerade include reserve players who form part of the Coca-Cola Ambassadors such as Rodney Santos, Cesar Catli, Ronjay Enrile, and Dale Singson, strength and conditioning coach Julio Veloso, team physician Dr. Pablo Santos, team coordinator Cris Nieto, team assistant Lester Pascual, and physical therapists Rheysson Cornilla and Benigno Espeleta.
Duremdes said they initially thought the group was part of the buyout as per the assurance of former Powerade team governor Ronnie Asuncion, only for them to be told that they won’t be absorbed by the new owner a day before Global Port conducted its first official practice.
Ella had already been attending the practice of Global Port for the past two weeks until he was also told that he wasn’t part of the Powerade package.
“Si coach George (Ella) ang perfect example namin because after he was told that he won’t be absorbed, sabi ng Global Port na Powerade ang dapat mag-honor ng contract niya,” said Duremdes.
But the former Adamson star said Asuncion already admitted that Coca-Cola will not be honoring their contracts after meeting with them one by one last August 30 and 31. Only Duremdes has yet to personally talk with the former Powerade team governor about the matter.
During the same meeting, the Powerade staff revealed Asuncion offered them `financial assistance’ equivalent to one month pay for every year of service.
“Mahirap naman yata kaming pumayag doon dahil hindi pa naman kami matagal sa Powerade. Kung isasama nila pati `yung playing years bakit hindi. Pero `yung as management staff, malayo `yun sa makukuha namin kung babayaran nila yung mismong contract,” Duremdes added.
To make matter worse, Duremdes quoted those who talked with Asuncion as telling them that the offer was only for "1 hour/ 1 day/ and 1 week."
At the same time, Duremdes lamented that Asuncion kept the team in the dark, assuring them before the franchise won’t be sold until "it wins another championship."
“We gave them our trust despite na ang dami ng mga lumalabas noong balita about the franchise being sold. And yet, hindi ganung klase ng trato ang nakuha namin sa kanila,” he said.