IN the din of San Mig Coffee’s merriment, the team still can’t help but break up the core of a team that just days ago achieved what no other PBA franchise has done over the last 18 years.
As the Mixers celebrated their grand slam season Friday night at the San Miguel Corporation headquarters, PBA board representative Rene Pardo agonizingly announced that four players had been left unprotected by the team for availability in the coming dispersal draft.
Team manager Alvin Patrimonio already submitted to the PBA office the names of San Mig’s protected list of 13 players, and those left out were JR Cawaling, Lester Alvarez, Ken Bono, and Ronnie Matias.
"Sinumbit na kanina ni Alvin (sa PBA), based on the recommendation of Tim Cone. We have 17 players including the practice players. We will protect 13, so four will be in the dispersal list," said Pardo.
All four, especially Bono, were acknowledged by Cone during his speech shortly after winning the Governors Cup championship over Rain or Shine, as part of a special group that completed the first league grand slam in the league since Alaska last did the trick in 1996.
But Pardo assured the four players that they can always return to San Mig if they will not be taken during the dispersal draft by expansion teams Blackwater and KIA - or left unsigned by any other teams.
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“But if they are not taken, they are always welcome to get back in our team," the amiable San Mig executive stressed.