BIG man Rabeh Al-Hussaini is facing sanctions from Meralco management after failing to return in time from a trip overseas as he had promised, according to team manager Butch Antonio.
The 6-foot-7 Al-Hussaini left the country over a month ago, getting the permission from team management to work on his citizenship papers as well as his pension in Kuwait.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio earlier said the former Rookie of the Year was allowed by the team to leave as long as he returns within a 10-day grace period last month in order to make it in time for the PBA Governors Cup.
But the former UAAP MVP has yet to return, leaving the Bolts without a legitimate big man as they stumbled to ninth place with a 3-6 (win-loss) record and failed to make the playoffs.
Antonio said management won’t take the matter sitting down.
“Right now, he’s (Al-Hussaini) considered AWOL (absent without leave). But he’s still under contract pa, though right now, he won’t receive his salary,” Antonio told Spin.ph.
The former Blue Eagles star has now been gone for over six weeks.
Antonio said in recent weeks, he’s been exchanging text messages with the mercurial slotman out of Ateneo, though the Bolts remain clueless on when Al-Hussaini plans to return from his father's homeland.
“Supposedly, he’s working on his citizenship documents in Kuwait, but it’s been weeks since we last texted,” he added.
The soft-spoken Meralco team manager said the Bolts intend to seek help from the PBA Commissioner’s Office regarding Al-Hussaini’s status.
“I’ll probably write to the PBA about this (Al-Hussaini’s AWOL) because he has contractual obligation with us,” explained Antonio.
Meanwhile, veteran agent Danny Espiritu, who represents Al-Hussaini, said the player intends to return to Manila and fulfill his contractual obligations with Meralco once he’s done with his agenda in Kuwait.
“Nasa Kuwait siya eh. Pero understandable naman sa grupo (Meralco Bolts management) na tatapusin muna niya ang pag-ayos ng dokumento para makuha niya ang pension niya,” Espiritu said.
“Ang epekto lang eh wala siyang sweldo.”