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    P1 million penalty for any PBA team found guilty of tampering

    Jan 13, 2022

    THE dawn of unrestricted free agency in the PBA has stirred up excitement in the pro league, making up for the lull in the action during the unscheduled break caused by the spike in Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila.

    Two players from the 2014 rookie draft class wasted no time taking advantage of the rule to sign three-year deals with different teams - point guard Nards Pinto with Barangay Ginebra and forward Rodney Brondial with San Miguel.


      But with the breakthrough signings arose suspicion of tampering, more so since Pinto and Brondial had standing offers from mother teams Meralco and Alaska but still let their old contracts expire at the end of the year.

      So what is tampering?

      Former PBA commissioner Chito Salud described it as such: “The most important rule there is no one can talk to the player by himself or through his agents to negotiate or transact a new contract prior to the expiration of the said contract.

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      "The only exception there is the mother team, even before the expiration of the contract of the player, can choose to negotiate and renew the terms of a new contract. Anybody who talks prematurely to a player still having a live contract can be found guilty of tampering.”

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      Tough tampering rules by NBA

      The NBA doesn't take accusations of tampering lightly, probing every single accusation and handing out record penalties to those found guilty.

      In late 2019, the NBA board of governors unanimously passed a resolution raising the penalties for tampering to 'up to $10 million in fines, along with forfeiture of draft picks, suspensions of executives and voiding of contracts when rule breaking is found.

      How about in the PBA, you might ask.

      A call to the PBA Commissioner's Office provided the answer. Any team found guilty of tampering in the local pro league faces punishment of 'up to but not more than P1 million,' according to Commissioner Willie Marcial.

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      Problem is, no team in the league's 47 years has ever been prosecuted, much less punished, for tampering. The closest it got to doing so was in 2014 when Salud probed Paul Lee's bid to leave Rain or Shine, but nothing came out of it, sources said.

      Salud knew the anti-tampering rule is crucial to the league's bid to maintain fairness in all dealings between players and teams. Let's hope the present league leadership doesn't make the mistake of overlooking that.

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