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    COLUMN: Well-meaning as it may be, UFA isn't the answer to PBA problems

    Jan 26, 2022
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    Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Nards Pinto, Chris Banchero, and Rodney Brondial are among the prominent unrestricted free agents in the PBA.
    PHOTO: PBA Images
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    CHICAGO - While commenting on a botched play he was calling on live TV, former NBA head coach-turned analyst Mark Jackson quipped that "the operation was successful but the patient died."

    The funny line reminds me of the PBA's newly-instituted unrestricted free agency frenzy that is being talked about at a time when games are suspended by the spread of the Omicron variant of COVOD-19.

    The league deserves to be lauded for its courage to tweak the UFA rules in a way that creates hope for a competitive balance which would help the independent teams combat the wave of dominance by the SMC and MVP groups.

    Unfortunately, the system is so broken that minor repairs alone won't get the job done.

    Taylor Swift said it best in her hit song Bad Blood.

    "Band-aids don't fix bullet holes."

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      For the PBA to truly build a free agency market that is absolutely real, it must strictly enforce the salary cap memo it passed three years ago, a measure that opens the door for the Blackwaters of the world to somehow get a crack at procuring high-end talent in a level financial playing field.

      Continue reading below ↓

      If that can't be achieved, why not scrap the salary cap altogether so we can all cease to embrace the illusion that the league isn't run by two corporations that own six of the PBA's 12-team field?

      Continue reading below ↓
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      Look, early in this UFA frenzy, a pair of gifted players - Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Rodney Brondial - fled their mother teams and decided to nest with TNT and San Miguel, respectively.

      The twin flights allowed the rich to "get richer," opined SPIN.ph editor-in-chief Dodo Catacutan during yesterday's episode of SPIN POV when the panel tackled the issue.

      BAD OMEN?

      Our lead PBA correspondent Rueben Ezra Terrado cautioned that the movements are a "small sample size," but he also had apprehensions that it may be a trend of more of the same switching of allegiances to come.

      Up next is Chris Banchero whose contract expires this January 31. Despite Phoenix's best efforts and offer, CB is likely to depart for Meralco for some high-voltage cash and more chances to play for bonus money and even win a chip.

      Continue reading below ↓

      Can't blame Ganuelas-Rosser, Brondial, and soon, Banchero for ditching their old jerseys. These dudes have futures and loved ones to take care of.

      Cash helps them arrive at those goals.

      Can't blame the moneyed teams either for offering wealthy deals because there is no clear mandate that prohibits them from circumventing the salary cap rules with alleged under-the-table deals.

      This is where the Office of PBA Commissioner needs to make a dramatic entrance, see the salary cap tomfoolery that is ongoing unabated, and then muster the balls to put an end to it.

      But can Kume Marcial be impartial and stop keeping a blind eye to these alleged shenanigans?

      My dear pal Snow Badua, doesn't think so.

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        The fearless Badua, a one-man media conglomerate and social media giant, believes that Marcial's close fraternization with the PBA board and his rumored tight friendship with SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua is a hindrance.

        Continue reading below ↓

        I'm not insinuating impropriety here or suggesting that the fine gentlemen in the PBA board cannot keep their decorum by swaying Marcial's decisions.

        What I'm saying is that the mere optics of Marcial and Chua allegedly hanging out at the Mandarin Sky restaurant in Quezon city or a watering hole in Timog is a bad look.

        Sights such as those make an already angry fan base conjure hallucinations that perhaps all of the kumbaya and merrymaking may lead to backroom deals and late night phone calls that allow one-sided trades to get approval instead of upheaval.

        Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me friendships can't be abused, Tell me everything is right on this green Earth.

        Maybe this once, as I deal with Covid and my brain power weakens, I will be a fool to believe you.

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        Matt Ganuelas Rosser, Nards Pinto, Chris Banchero, and Rodney Brondial are among the prominent unrestricted free agents in the PBA.
        PHOTO: PBA Images
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