NLEX veteran Larry Fonacier is the first player to opt out of the PBA bubble at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.
Coach Yeng Guiao confirmed the development on Monday night, citing a personal matter as the reason why the deadly gunner out of Ateneo won't be going with the Road Warriors once the Philippine Cup starts by next month.
"Management and myself understand that family is priority, so we excused him," said Guiao. "Wala namang pilitan yan. Hindi naman siya pipilitin kung yun ang reason niya."
The 38-year-old Fonacier talked to the team on Friday, or just a day after the PBA board announced the possible resumption of the Philippine Cup by October 9 via a bubble to be set up at Clark.
The seven-time champion has not been working out with the Road Warriors at their training facility at the FCL Building.
"Kahit practice, di siya makapag-practice kasi talagang maingat siya," said Guiao, who picked Fonacier in the second round (14th overall) of the 2005 draft while he was still with Red Bull.
Guiao stressed management also understands if other NLEX players decide not to play for the team in the two months it will stay in Pampanga.
"Any player naman sa amin, kung meron silang ganyang reason concerning mga health issues sa family, hindi na namin pinipilit kasi naiintindihan namin," added the veteran mentor.
In the absence of Fonacier, Guiao expects other players to step up and fill up the slack, most especially rookie Mike Ayonayon.