RJ Jazul showed he’s a real pro by insisting Phoenix remains his prerogative despite the acknowledged financial strife the franchise is currently undergoing.
The veteran guard said it’s totally unfair to the team if he’s already thinking in advance on where to play next while he’s still under contract with the Fuel Masters.
“As a player of Phoenix, you don’t need to think about MVP or SMC while you’re still with (the team),” said Jazul in replying to a question on which team under either the SMC or MVP group he would want to be during his recent appearance on SPIN Zoom In.
“That’s very unprofessional, di ba. I’m being paid by Phoenix to play and not to think about anything.”
The independent oil player is currently facing financial woes over the reported unpaid debts of team owner Dennis Uy, giving rise to the uncertain future of its PBA ballclub.
But Jazul said top management already talked to the team and assured the players, coaching staff, and personnel that it will continue playing in the league.
“Unang-una, ang Phoenix ay hindi madi-disband. Yun ang sabi sa amin, and that’s what we believed. And we don’t think about that,” said the Phoenix team captain.
The assurance made by management appeared to have eased the entire Fuel Masters, who are currently the hottest team in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After a 0-3 start to its campaign, Phoenix has strung up five straight wins to rise on the upper bracket of the standings at 5-3 and be in a perfect position to earn a berth in the playoffs.
Jazul just signed a two-year deal with the team prior to the start of the season and would be a free agent by the end of 2024.
But he won’t qualify as an unrestricted free agent since he came before the 2014 draft class, which is the first batch of players entitled to exercise free agency.
The ruling is not retroactive, thus the 2010 rookie batch of which Jazul belongs isn’t covered by the landmark decision.
The 36-year-old Letran guard envies those players who can exercise their rights as unrestricted free agents, but at the same time, said he respects the league’s decision on the matter.
“Andyan na yun. That’s the rule,” said Jazul.
For us na mga hindi tinamaan ng cut off, we have no right, as in no right to choose your team. Yun ang totoo,” added the Phoenix veteran. “Kami will leave and finish with this kind of situation. Pero ok lang. what can you ask more? You’re in the PBA, you’re playing what you love to do, and you’re being paid. Ok na yun. We’re still blessed whatever the situation is. Hindi ako nagre-reklamo, nagsasabi lang ako ng totoo.”