VETERANS Dondon Hontiveros and Eric Menk are technically unrestricted free agents after being relegated by Alaska from its active roster.
But don’t ever think the two of them are going anywhere.
Despite being left out of Alaska's protected list, Hontiveros and Menk are both vocal in expressing they are staying with the Aces as per their agreement with coach Alex Compton and team management.
Compton earlier disclosed to Spin.ph the team didn’t include the two on its official lineup for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup to give them ample time to rest and recover following a grueling best-of-seven finals against San Miguel in the Philippine Cup.
Rookies Kevin Racal and Marion Magat were elevated by the Aces to the active roster and took the spots of Menk, 41, and Hontiveros, 38.
Curiously, Alaska also did not put the names of the two in the reserve/injured list (Jaypee Mendoza), leaving both Hontiveros and Menk as unrestricted free agents who can be tapped by any team interested in their services.
But Compton disclosed having talked to Hontiveros and Menk ‘man-to-man’ and both assured they’re staying put and will not be going to sign with any other team during their break.
Both veterans, who has a combined age of 79, will be activated after just a couple of games in the mid-season tournament, said Alaska deputy Louie Alas.
Menk sat on the Alaska bench during its game against Blackwater, while Hontiveros is currently on sick bay.
“I talked to them. I’ve been friends with these guys for a long time, kasing-edad ko, e,” said a smiling Compton.”I told them both that I will not do this (relegate them in the free agent list) if you’re going somewhere else. It was a man-to-man talk, and I trust those guys.”
“If you’re going somewhere else you need to tell me so I won’t do it. I trust them as men. I thought twice about it before it I did it and I take them up for their word.”
League media bureau chief Willie Marcial said under PBA rules, such arrangements are allowed should unrestricted free agents refuse to play for any other teams outside of their mother ballclub.
“I believe my mutual agreement na ‘yung both parties (Alaska and players), and under league rules, ok yung ganun,” said Marcial.
The league official however, raised a possible point that could challenge such prevailing rule.
“Not unless may mag-offer sa kanilang teams na mas malaki ang suweldo,” Marcial said.