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    Meralco admits it doesn't hold rights to Shabazz despite signed contract

    Feb 24, 2022
    Shabazz Mohammad was a first-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft at No. 14 overall.
    PHOTO: AP

    ANTIPOLO CITY – As far as Meralco is concerned, it doesn’t hold the rights on sought-after import Shabazz Muhammad.

    While the former NBA player did sign a contract to play for the Bolts in the PBA Governors Cup, Muhammad never got to suit up for the team, thereby making any Meralco claim on his rights moot and academic.

    “He didn’t get to play for us and we got a replacement import, so we don’t have his rights,” said team manager Paolo Trillo.

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      The Meralco official added a team can only hold the rights on an import if he did play for them.

      “Although we had a prior arrangement with him (Muhammad) hindi siya natuloy. So yes, any team can actually bring him in.”

      Muhammad, a first-round pick in the 2013 draft by the Utah Jazz, was Meralco’s original choice but he backed out at the last minute a 'personal emergency.'

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      Meralco has since tapped Tony Bishop as its import.

      Only this week, the 29-year-old former UCLA Bruin arrived in the country as a possible import replacement for San Miguel import Orlando Johnson.

      Muhammad is set to be measured at the PBA office on Friday ahead of San Miguel's match against league-leader Magnolia on Sunday.

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      “Siguro they (San Miguel) also tried to pursue him (Muhammad). And he’s free to sign with any team,” added Trillo.

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        Meralco coach Norman Black said the Bolts have since moved on following the sudden U-turn by Muhammad, pointing out Bishop turned out to be an effective import as well.

        “We have to move on and try to find a new import in Tony Bishop,” said Black of the 32-year-old American-Panamanian, who finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds in Meralco’s 107-95 win over Terrafirma on Thursday for its fifth win in six outings.

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        Incidentally, if Muhammad becomes the next San Miguel import, he’ll have the opportunity to play against Bishop and Meralco on March 5 as the Bolts and Beermen collide at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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        PHOTO: AP
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