PBA chairman Mon Seguismundo said on Friday the parameters set by the league for its three expansion teams are not cast in stone, adding the board is willing to listen to requests for additional concessions from the incoming ballclubs.
The league welcomed on Thursday three new ballclubs in Blackwater Sports, Columbia Autocar Corp., and Metro Pacific Investments, but gave very little concessions in terms of draft picks, direct-hire recruits or a dispersal draft.
Under the parameters set by the board, the existing 10 teams will be given the option to protect 14 players from the expansion draft or protect 12 at the expense of losing their second-round picks in the rookie draft, according to media bureau chief Willie Marcial.
No direct-hire hire privileges were accorded the three new ballclubs, which will also be picking 11th, 12th, and 13th in the rookie draft depending on the result of a lottery.
The new teams will be getting players mostly from an expansion draft to be held in late July, where all veteran free agents and players left unprotected by the 10 existing teams will be placed in a pool.
As for protected players with expired contracts, the expansion teams can only tender them offers after negotiations with their mother ballclubs break down.
Social media immediately went abuzz when the very limited concessions were announced, with a lot of fans criticizing the league and the existing teams for leaving Blackwater, NLEX, and Kia Motors very little room to form competitive ballclubs.
However, Seguismundo assured fans that the three new teams will be given the opportunity to air their side or make requests for concessions once they receive the formal letter of acceptance from the league.
“We’re going to issue a formal letter of acceptance to all these new teams,” Seguismundo told Spin.ph on Friday. “We expect them to reply and they are free to write whatever they can write since this is a free country.”
The soft-spoken PBA chairman, who also serves as the Meralco Bolts’ board representative, said the three expansion teams could even make “reasonable requests as long as it is within the guiding principles of the PBA."
“And should their request merit a board discussion, why not?” said Seguismundo.