FEELING it may not be able to be competitive under the initial concessions granted by the PBA board, the management of Metro Pacific Investments (NLEX) is set to formally request for more leeway in a letter to Commissioner Chito Salud on Monday.
The letter has already been drafted, team manager Ronald Dulatre told Spin.ph, and will be forwarded to the office of Salud shortly after the Holy Week.
“Yes, we have already prepared a letter, pero sa Monday ko na ito ipapasa. Hahayaan ko munang lumampas ang Lenten break,” said Dulatre. “Gusto lang naman naming humingi ng reconsideration, kasi kung titignan mong maigi yung initial concessions, mahihirapan kaming bumuo ng competitive lineup.”
NLEX along with fellow expansion teams Columbia Autocar Corp. (Kia), and Ever Billena (Blackwater) were only given the 11th, 12th, and 13th picks in the rookie draft and an expansion pool of free agents to pick from under a 'Protect 14' scheme to built their teams for next season.
The board is set to meet again on Thursday to review the concessions.
“Yung initial concession kasi that they’ve given will not be friendly to us newcomers,” said the NLEX finance officer, who is also one of those behind the five championships won by the Road Warriors in the PBA D-League.
“Protect 14, no direct hire, tapos 11, 12, 13 na pick sa draft. Isa lang pick namin dun dahil tatlo kaming maghahati dun, so wala talaga kaming mabubuong malakas na team dun,” said Dulatre.
“Kahit sabihin na natin na maraming free agents, yung mga free agents nga hindi naman natin sa minamaliit, pero nag-try din sila pumasok sa mga existing teams di ba?” he added.
“Saka we’re just basing lang naman `yung request namin sa precedent nung mga previous new teams na pumasok. Yung Red Bull when it entered the league in 2001, may anim sila. Yung Rain or Shine, when it took over Shell’s franchise, may tatlo silang direct hire.”
The Manila North Tollways finance department senior manager reiterated that one of the reasons it cited in the letter of intent is to carry over to the big league the team’s winning tradition and value as a very competitive team in the D-League.
“Ang gusto lang naman namin maging competitive yung team namin. Yun lang naman hinihingi namin,” he said.
“We’re only trying to add value sa liga. Gusto namin na when we play, may manonood because we’re competitive. Saka gusto namin dalhin ang winning tradition ng team sa PBA, kasi para din sa fan base namin. May fan-base na rin kasi kami talaga sa D-League,” said Dulatre.
Is he optimistic about his request?
“Well, syempre ganyan naman ang negosasyon. Yung board magbibigay ng concessions na mababa, kami naman gusto mataas. So one way or another, we’ll meet in the middle,” he said. “Sana lumambot pa sila.”