Wondering why Star still holds rights on Radcliffe, Blakely but not on Bowles? PBA explains
Curiously, Star decided not to keep its rights on Denzel Bowles, who ended up joining corporate rival TNT Katropa, but retained its rights on Ricardo Radcliffe and Marqus Blakely.

SO why isn't Denzel Bowles back for another tour of duty for Star, and more so, why did he end up playing instead for corporate rival TnT Katropa in the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup?

It turned out the 27-year-old Best Import awardee was left out in the free agent market by the Hotshots as the team opted to protect its right to Ricardo Ratliffe instead.

As per PBA rules, ballclubs have the option on the imports it will keep, especially in conferences where it tapped the services of one or more players. Imports who are replaced are technically considered free agents, not unless teams exercise its options on them.

In the Hotshots’ case, they let go of Bowles to be able to keep Ratliffe, who replaced the 6-foot-10 Virginia Beach native midway through last year’s mid-season conference campaign.

Effectively, Star made Bowles a free agent,  meaning he is free to sign with any teams in the league without having to get the consent of his former team.

“The team will just have to inform the league kung sino ang gusto nilang i-retain ang rights lalo na when they have more than one import during the same conference,” deputy commissioner Rickie B. Santos explained to SPIN.ph.

“Star told us it is keeping its rights on Ricardo Ratliffe kaya naging libre na si Denzel Bowles.”

A product of Texas A&M and James Madison University, Bowles arrived in the country last Monday and has since started practicing with the Texters – incidentally, the same team he and the Hotshots (then known as B-Meg Llamados) beat in a dramatic overtime finish to Game 7 to win the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup title.

Prior to coming over, Bowles has been active in social media and ranting about his supposed fallout with the Star franchise. He also hinted about a clash with former coach Jason Webb as the probable reason for his unfinished stint with the Hotshots last season, and professed how thrilled he is playing for a new team in the league.

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Santos also cited the case of another Star import, Marqus Blakely.

Despite his unceremonious exit during the season-ending Governors Cup, the Hotshots had notified the league it will keep its rights on the one-time Best Import awardee. The 28-year-old Blakely was replaced by Joel Wright.

“So hindi puwedeng kuhanin ng ibang teams si Blakely without getting the consent of Star,” Santos stressed. “Si (Joel) Wright puwede namang maglaro na sa ibang teams.”

The same can be said of Rain or Shine and Wayne Chism.

Since the former Best Import was let go by the Elasto Painters when he suffered a hamstring injury during his stint with the team last year, Rain or Shine no longer had any hold on him, not unless the team notified the PBA it is keeping its rights on him. It didn’t.

“Wala naman kaming rights na kay Chism because we replaced him,” a team insider said. “And in fairness sa NLEX and kay Coach Yeng, nagsabi pa sila sa amin kahit puwede naman nilang kuhanin directly.”

Rain or Shine is getting the services of a new import in Anthony Jones for the import-laden meet set to start on March 17.

Globalport has also released unconditionally its import last year, Shawn Taggart.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos