THE chase to sign Gary David is on, but the camp of the unrestricted free agent is in no rush to jump to his next team, especially since he's still under contract with the Meralco Bolts.
Blackwater Elite and Mahindra Enforcers are the frontrunners in the race to sign the five-time PBA scoring champ, while other teams such as Barangay Ginebra, Phoenix, and Alaska have not signified interest in acquiring David, as they have no spot for him in their respective rosters.
“We have a full lineup,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone in a message to SPIN.ph.
There’s no official word yet from the camp of David as to what team they will next play for. And David’s agent, Danny Espiritu, insisted they're in no rush to find David a new team, despite Blackwater and Mahindra actively finding ways to nab the former Gilas guard.
"May kontrata pa naman si Gary sa Meralco hanggang sa end of August, pero yung dalawang teams na 'yun, nag-e-explore na (to get David),” he said.
“Ang sa amin naman eh, waiting lang kami. If they strike a deal, dun kami papasok. Kasi sa ngayon, technically, may kontrata si Gary sa Meralco” added Espiritu, referring to the one-year maximum contract David signed with the Bolts that expires at the end of the season.
Espiritu also understands why the interest for his ward is lukewarm as other teams, especially those at the top of the standings like Ginebra and Alaska, are wary of shaking up their lineup with a mid-season addition even with a talent of David's caliber.
“Wala, kasi even before na-i-release si Gary, naka-usap na ni (Meralco team manager) Paolo (Trillo) yang mga yan,” said Espiritu. “So kung interested sila, sana dun pa lang nag-signify na sila ng intention. Pero naiintindihan naman naming 'yun kasi nga, full lineup na sila lahat.”
“Saka yung mga San Miguel teams kasi nagpapanalo rin kaya hindi sila maggagalaw ng line-up nila,” he added.
David's contract also appears to be a hindrance for other teams in dire need of firepower, like injury-ravaged GlobalPort.
“Wala rin. May contract kasi si Gary na malaki kaya hindi pa gumagalaw yung ibang teams kahit interesado sila. Sabi ko nga sa'yo, hindi naman kami nagmamadali. May kontrata pa naman si Gary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Meralco management's treatment on the case of David did not sit well with the fans of David who call themselves ‘El Granaddicts.’
“Napaka-unfair lang po kasi, dahil na-publicize pa nila yung suspension niKkuya Gary. The other teams normally would just sugarcoat their sanctions, kunwari injured o ibang reasons,” said Myka Navarette, El Granaddicts president, in a chat with SPIN.ph.
“In the case of Meralco, nilabas pa nila na suspended si Kuya Gary, so normally, papasok ang haters niya to bash him even more,” she added.
Navarette also believes that how both camps responded to the media reports only worsened the situation.
“Yun nga po, dun lumala ang situation. Tapos I heard, Kuya Gary got the axe when a picture of his swollen left ankle surfaced,” said Navarette, referring to the photo David shared to SPIN.ph.
“You can’t blame Kuya Gary, may injury naman talaga siya in the first place,” added the longtime David fan.
Navarette hopes that David can still hook up with a team in the PBA as she believes the 37-year-old guard can prove pivotal for the right team in the hunt for a title.
“Sana lang he can still find a team. May talent pa rin naman si Kuya Gary to contribute. And more so, we would be happy at El Granaddicts if ever he wins his first ever champ[ionship before he retires,” said the admin of El
Granaddicts fan pages.
“Kuya Gary is still one of the kindest players I know. He doesn’t deserve this. No love lost sa Meralco, because they took care of us fans din. Yun nga lang, sayang kasi it all ended like this,” she added.