IS the era of the Extra Rice Inc. about to end at Rain or Shine?
Negotiations involving the burly pair of JR Quinahan and Beau Belga with team management reportedly had reached a standoff after the two parties went nowhere close to reaching a deal in a series of meetings since last week.
Of the two, Quinahan appeared bent on exploring other options, according to his agent Danny Espiritu, after the Elasto Painters, represented by team manager and board of governor Mamerto Mondragon, only offered him another one-year contract.
Quinahan is negotiating for a two-year, maximum deal following a season in which he emerged as the most consistent among the Rain or Shine players. He was actually in the running for the Best Player of the Conference during the Philippine Cup and is among the candidates for the season-ending MVP award, where he is ranked no. 15.
The Cebuano big man is also among the candidates for this season's Most Improved Player award.
He averaged 11.7 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists per outing in 22.1 minutes of play, numbers that were marked improvements from his averages of 5.5 ppg. 3.3 rpg. and 1.4 asp in 16.3 minutes during the previous season.
Quinahan also played a key role when the Elasto Painters beat the Alaska Aces for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title, the second championship of the franchise in its 10-year history in the pro league.
Text messages by SPIN.ph sent to the 32-year-old Cebuano had not answered as of post time.
But a close friend of Quinahan said the player believes the two-year deal he’s been seeking is fair enough after holding up his side of the bargain when he agreed to sign a one-year contract last season.
“Nagpapayat nga si JR to help improve his plays as what management wanted, at kita naman yun sa numbers niya during the season,” said the source. “Siguro naman deserving siya to have a longer contract this time.”
At least three teams are interested in getting the services of Quinahan, one of which is reportedly NLEX, where former Rain or Shine mentor Yeng Guiao is now holding court.
Rain or Shine has extended a new three-year offer to Belga, but the banger has yet to sign since the additional perks he’s been asking from Rain or Shine management have been turned down.
Although the big man out of Philippine Christian University was one of four Elasto Painters with maximum contracts in the past – the others being Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, and Gabe Norwood – the benefits Belga are seeking do not constitute a violation of league rules.
A meeting between him and management is set on Monday.