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    PBA board could revisit free agency rule as SMC teams gain early edge

    Jan 9, 2022
    PBA board
    The PBA board could revisit the free agency rule if the effect would not be good for the league.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE PBA ruling on unrestricted free agency seems not yet cast in stone.

    PBA on unrestricted free agency

    As movements of players now considered as unrestricted free agents began, Commissioner Willie Marcial said the Board will later on try to determine if such move would be for the overall benefit of the league.

    Those belonging to the Rookie Class of 2014 are the players already eligible to test the free agency market as per the seven-year rule agreed upon during the time of former Commissioner Chito Salud.

    “Pinag-usapan namin sa Board yan. Titingnan muna namin kung makakabuti sa liga itong free agency. Kapag hindi makakabuti at makaka-apekto sa liga, babalikan namin kung ano ang magandang gawin,” said Marcial.

    Initially, questions were raised during the meeting if the league would push through with the move starting this year, according to Marcial.

    “Pero kailangan naming ituloy. Subukan muna natin kung ano yung epekto,” Marcial said.

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    “So yung pumasok ng 2014, free agent na sila ngayon. Puwede na silang mamili ng pupuntahan nilang teams basta tapos na yung kontrata nila,” he added. “Yung 2015, next year free agent na sila.”

    Just a few days ago, two members of the 2014 batch in Rodney Brondial and John Pinto became the first ones to avail of their free agency rights.

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    Nards Pinto and Rodney Brondial are the first two PBA players to enjoy the freedom of true free agency.

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    Brondial, 31, moved from Alaska to San Miguel, while Pinto jumped to Ginebra from Meralco.

    Both players didn’t accept the two-year offers tendered by their mother ballclubs, and each signed a three-year deal with their new teams.

    Marcial said it’s the players who really get to benefit out of the ruling, which he stressed sometimes doesn’t factor in money alone.

    “Parang sa NBA 'di ba. Kahit mataas pa yung sinusuweldo ng player, yung iba kasi gustong makatikim na mag-champion, so magpapababa ng presyo para makasama sa team na ito. Yan yung kagandahan ng free agency,” said the PBA chieftain.

    “Maganda yan para sa mga players kasi matagal na nilang sinasabi sa akin yan.”

    So far among the 2014 batch who are still playing in the league and haven’t signed a new contract with their mother teams include Jake Pascual, Prince Caperal, Chris Banchero, Juami Tiongson, Brian Heruela, Kenneth Ighalo, Paolo Taha, Jericho Cruz, Anthony Semerad, Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Kyle Pascual, and Juneric Baloria.

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    Marcial said he already sent out a memo to all teams last year reminding them about their players who are going to be free agents in 2022.

    “Sabi ko sa mga teams i-check ninyo yung mga free agents ninyo. Kung gusto ninyo pa naman sila i-renew, i-renew na nila agad ng mas maaga,” said the commissioner about his reminder.

    The problem with not signing expected free agents earlier to a new contract is the fact the players would naturally exercise their right to choose the team they would want to play for once their previous deals expire.

    “Sigurado yan, hihintayin na nung mga players yung free agency nila kasi makakapamili sila ng teams,” said Marcial. “Ang problema mo lang diyan, kung may market ka, kung may kukuha sa iyo na team.”

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      So far, based on the destination of teams made by Brondial and Pinto, it appears ballclubs under the SMC umbrella already had a distinct advantage.

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      Again, those are the things which the Board will have to review before the next batch of players become free agents by 2023.

      “As of now maganda naman yung tinatakbo, pero kung makakasama sa liga, re-rebyuhin ulit ng Board kung paano pa mapapaganda yung free agency,” said Marcial.

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      The PBA board could revisit the free agency rule if the effect would not be good for the league.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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