Can Manny Pacquiao play for both Mahindra and ABL team Aguilas? Salud responds
Manny Pacquiao still has an existing Uniform Player's Contract (UPC) with Mahindra in the PBA. Jerome Ascano

THE known multi-tasker that he is, but Manny Pacquiao the basketball player can’t serve two masters at the same time.

PBA president and chief executive officer Chito Salud stressed the existence of a Uniform Player's Contract (UPC) prohibits the playing-coach of Mahindra Enforcers from playing for any team, more so in a league other than the PBA.

Salud made the clarification in ight of talks that the 36-year-old Pacquiao is set to see action for the Pilipinas Aguilas in the coming season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

The Aguilas is co-owned by Pacquiao with the Pilipinas Legends Group headed by Dick Balajadia.

In the official team roster submitted by Mahindra to the Commissioner’s Office for the coming 41st season of the league, the Enforces conspicuously put Pacquiao’s name under the reserve list.

Still, not even that would allow the congressman from the province of Sarangani of suiting up for the Aguilas, according to Salud, a former PBA commissioner.

“Remember, he’s coach, head coach of Mahindra. And he has an existing UPC with the PBA, so let’s not deal with speculations,” said Salud.

“We have not received any formal request on that. In fact, he is listed as head coach of Mahindra and he has an existing players’ contract with Mahindra.”

A Pilipinas Aguilas insider told Spin.ph that Pacquiao has not been listed as part of its team roster since the franchise isn’t certain about the possible technicalities involving his existing contract with Mahindra.

But the same insider seemed to disagree with Salud’s contention that being on Mahindra’s reserved list still bars Pacquiao from playing for the Aguilas, citing a previous move by San Miguel allowing its ‘reserve players’ in the PBA to suit up for the company's ABL franchise.

League deputy commissioner Rickie Santos however, was quick to dispute the claim.

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“I don’t think reserve players ng San Miguel yun. They are what we call unrestricted free agents or those players not included in the team’s official 14-man lineup plus the reserve list,” Santos explained.

“They are still under the team’s salary scheme but not officially part of the team, kaya pinapayagan silang maglaro ng teams sa ibang liga. Now pag may ibang teams na kumuha sa kanila, yung bagong team na nila ang magbabayad ng suweldo nila.”

Besides unlike San Miguel which owned both teams in the PBA and ABL, Santos noted Mahindra and the Aguilar are obviously two different entities.

At the most, according to Salud, Pacquiao, who will be seeking a seat in the Senate in next year’s national polls, could asked his mother ballclub and the PBA Commissioner’s Office their consent if he’ll insist on playing for the Aguilas.

As of now, Mahindra board of governor Tomas Alvarez said the eight-time world division boxing champion has yet to ask management about any plan to play in the ABL.

“First he has to notify the mother team, gets its consent, and then notify the Office of the Commissioner,” Salud said of the procedure.

“Now, whether or not the commissioner/and or the mother team will allow that player who still has a live contract with the PBA is another matter.”

Santos agreed.

“So provided na pumayag yung mother team and the commissioner, what will happen now with his contract? Will it be voided? Will it be bought out? Ang daming puwedeng mangyari kaya dadaan talaga ng husto yan sa Commissioner’s Office,” said Santos, who is among the longest-serving executives in the league.

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