MANNY Pacquiao can’t have his cake and eat it too.
The PBA is reminding the Senator and playing-coach of Mahindra that he has a Uniform Players Contract (UPC) to honor, which makes him ineligible to play in tournaments outside the pro league.
The clarification was made in light of recent press releases mentioning the 37-year-old Pacquiao as part of the Senate team which will see action in the fifth season of the UNTV Cup basketball league.
Pacquiao is currently in the active roster of the Enforcer in the ongoing season-ending Governors Cup and actually saw action in the team’s win over Blackwater just this week.
The UNTV Cup meanwhile, is set to open its new season on August 29 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, with a total of 12 teams including the Senate Defenders, seeing action.
So far, no formal letter has been forwarded to the PBA office on the matter, but league media bureau chief Willie Marcial said Pacquiao’s UPC with the league prohibits him from suiting up for any other tournament.
“He has an existing UPC with the PBA, so I don’t see him being allowed to play in other leagues,” Marcial stressed to SPIN.ph in a correspondence from Legazpi City, where Rain or Shine and Globalport will play in the featured Petron Saturday Special game at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation.
“Kung exhibition game lang yan puwede especially kung may basbas ng team,” added Marcial. “Pero kung tournament, malabo yan.”
Previously Pacquiao also planned to see action in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) when he was still in control of the Pilipinas Aguilas team, but later abandoned the idea when reminded of his existing UPC with the PBA.
Two other cage buffs in the Senate, namely Senators Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva, join Pacquiao to form what its handlers refer to as ‘our Big Three.’
The Filipino boxing icon has already practiced with the team twice a week for over a month now, according to the same press statement.
Former Adamson mentor Mike Fermin will be calling the shots for the team along with deputy Rodel Dascil.
Other teams participating in the tournament are defending champions AFP Cavaliers, PNP Responders, MMDA Blackwolves, NHA Builders, BFP Firefighters, Judiciary Magis, Malacanang Kamao, GSIS Furies, HOR Solons, DOJ Justice Boosters, Ombudsman Graftbusters and the BOC Transformers.