Gary David dilemma gives players all the more reason to revive union, says Miller
Gary David's career is in limbo after a falling-out with Meralco. Jaime Campos

THE current dilemma facing Meralco superstar Gary David is all the more reason on why the PBA Players’ Union should be revived, Willie Miller said on Tuesday.

The two-time league MVP Willie Miller said David’s rights could have been protected by a union after he was suspended one game by Meralco after complaining over playing time and eventually relegated to the free agent list.

“Kawawa kasi ngayon dyan yung malalaki ang sweldo gaya ni Gary. Parang wala ka na agad. Nangyari sa akin yan (nung maximum kontrata ko), iniipit ako, hindi ako ginagamit, para hindi na ko makapagsalita, para sa susunod na pirma ko, hindi na ganun kalaki,” said Miller.

“Yung mga beteranong players naman, gusto lang niyan lumaro. Irespeto pa sa court. Hindi yung sweldo, secondary na lang yung contract renewal,” he added.

Incidentally, David is among those being groomed to lead the Players’ Union when plans were initially brought up for its revival.

Miller believes the issue between the Bolts and David would not have worsened had Meralco opted to keep the issue just within the team.

“Sana sa team na lang 'yun,” he said. “Pero ang nangyari, sinuspindi si Gary, nilabas sa media. Lumala talaga yung sitwasyon. Dapat kanila-kanila na lang. Hindi lang naman kasiraan ni Gary yun, kasiraan rin ng team yun.”

“Alam naman ng lahat na superstar si Gary kaya madami rin talagang magtatanong kung bakit di siya ginamit.”

[See Mahindra the likely destination for David, but several issues hinder deal]

But at the same time, the outspoken combo guard from Letran, talking from experience after 15 seasons in the league, also advised David - and other players for that matter - to be ready to play regardless of the circumstances.

“Hindi ko sinasabi na tama si Gary, mali rin si Gary. Siguro nga hindi siya ready. Kasi may ganun na nangyayari, na ilang minutes, antay ka nang antay (makalaro), tapos ilang minutes na lang di ka ginamit, bababa na morale mo,” he explained.

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“Tama rin yung sa team na dapat anytime ready ka. Kasi may mga coach na ganun. Hindi ka gagamitin tapos last two seconds bigla kang gagamitin pa,” Miller added laughing.

Miller also said David still has some game left in him.

“Sino nagsabi na wala nang laro si Gary. Yung nangyayari dito, nalalagay sa alanganin, hindi nagagamit ng maayos. Tignan mo naman kung papano yung laro ni Gary (Maayos pa naman ah),” he added.

The 38-year-old veteran insisted that if and when the players will come together to resuscitate the PBA Players Union, he won’t hesitate to help out.

“Tutulong ako, dahil hindi naman para sa akin yan eh. Nung player pa ako sinasabi ko na sa kanila yan eh. Na kailangan may ganyan kasi malay mo, kapatid mo, kamag-anak mo, kaibigan mo na magiging player, tapos ganyan ang mangyayari,” he said.

 “Kailangan talaga may Players Union. Kaso yung mga players na malalaki ang sweldo - takot. Ayaw nila mawalan ng sweldo. Kaso ang akin, narananasan ko rin ang malaki ang sweldo tapos biglang nabalewala,” he said.

“Mali rin kasi yung pananaw ng marami na kapag nagka-union, titira ka na lang ng titira. Hindi ganun yun. Magiging fair ka rin na ipaglaban ang karapatan ng kapwa player mo,” he said.

Miller also advised the younger generation of players today to take the cue from current veteran stars, who are either left to rot on the bench or are shortchanged in negotiations for new contracts.

“Ang pangit talaga, kasi nasisira na lang yung mga beterano eh. Di ba? Ngayon sa mga bata, okay sa kanila. Ang magiging pangit para sa kanila, pag sila na ang beterano, baka nga saglit na lang sila sa PBA, hindi na sila maging beterano,” he said.

“Baka hindi na sila tumagal tulad ng players dati, kasi hindi nila controlled eh. Baka itapon-tapon na lang sila kung saan-saan. Wala naman nang loyalty ngayon eh. Kung san ka itapon, wala ka naman magagawa,” Miller added.

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