NLEX'S bid for a fifth PBA D-League championship is off to a rocky start.
The powerhouse Road Warriors is in danger of losing Ian Sangalang, the best player awardee during NLEX's run to the Aspirants Cup title who is now being lured by a new team put up by Sangalang's longtime benefactor.
No less than new PBA D-League team owner Dennis Pineda informed Spin.ph that he is enlisting the services of the 6-7 slotman whose career he has looked after long before Sangalang made a name for himself at San Sebastian.
After cutting ties with San Sebastian in the NCAA, the Pampanga vice gubernatorial candidate has decided to put up a team in the D-League with a nucleus made up of players who he had withdrawn from the Stags roster.
Pineda's team hopes to carry the name EA Regenerative Medicine, although the move is still pending approval from BFAD (Bureau of Food and Drugs) and the Department of Health.
Pineda on Tuesday furnished Spin.ph a copy of the 12-man lineup which the team submitted to the PBA Commissioner’s office on Tuesday morning for approval. Sangalang is on the list.
But here's the hitch.
Sangalang is under contract with NLEX until June, the reason the Manny Pangilinan-owned franchise is now contesting Pineda's decision to sign up the big man before the Commissioner’s Office.
“We already submitted the copy of the existing contract of Ian (Sangalang) with us,” said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre. “We’ll just let the commissioner decide on this issue.
"Salud said (he'll act on the issue) within this week.”
Dulatre, likewise, bared that NLEX will exert all efforts to keep intact the twin towers combination of Sangalang and Gregory Slaughter.
“Parang sa amin is … mawala na lahat huwag lang si Ian, ganun siya ka-importante sa core ng NLEX," he said.
“Alam naman namin na malaki ang utang na loob niya kay Mayor Dennis, ang amin lang ma-honor yung existing contract,” added Dulatre.
Aside from Pineda’s team, two other rookie ballclubs, Hogs Breath Café and Jumbo Plastic, are taking part in the coming PBA D-League 2013 Foundation Cup which opens on March 12.