THE sooner PBA teams are allowed by the government to return to practice, the quicker some players’ minds would be put at ease.
Commissioner Willie Marcial yesterday said the fate of players with expired or expiring contracts mainly hinges on when the IATF-EID would grant the PBA’s request to allow its teams to start working out amidst the lingering COVID-19 threat.
“Doon lahat nakasalalay iyan, kung papayagan na tayo ng government na bumalik sa gym,” Marcial said during the online PSA Forum.
“We wrote the (Department of Health) and the task force last Thursday and we’re just awaiting their response,” added Marcial. “Sana nga, payagan na tayo.”
Marcial was responding to questions about certain PBA players whose contracts had expired or are expiring and now fear going through more months without pay while the PBA remains shut down.
Since games were put on hold last March 11, some players had their contracts expired by the end of May while others are set to run out by the end of August.
Marcial said some teams have not been idle attending to their players’ immediate concerns.
“Since May pa, may mga nag-e-expire na,” Marcial said. “Kaya gumawa kami ng polisiya na… kasi, walang games, walang ginagawa. Kaya pag nag-simula itong practice na ito within five days mag-pipirmahan na sila.
“Ang alam ko, iyung ibang teams nagbibigay ng konting allowances. Pero depende. Kasi tapos na nga iyung kontrata mo. Inabutan ka (ng virus outbreak) kaya sorry. Kaya nga sana, ma-approve na iyung practice. Pag nag-start na iyung practice, ilang buwan o ilang linggo lang silang nawalan ng suweldo, mayroon naman silang allowances ma-re-renew agad sila.”
He said old league rules would apply if player and team do not see eye-to-eye.
“Kapag hindi sila nag-agree the player would have to sit it out and he cannot transfer to another team kasi ang rights sa kanya nasa mother team,” explained Marcial. “Conversely, if no offer is made by the mother team then the player automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent.”
The PBA Board has set an August meeting to decide on its next step, foremost of which are what to do if its request is turned down by the government or, if given a favorable response, how to salvage the season and when to resume play.
Also to be tackled in that meeting is the issue of whether pay cuts would be mandated on team personnel, including players, during a drastically shortened season.
That is a bridge Marcial prefers to cross once it’s there.
He is set to sit down with two players from each team to “talk about everything under the sun,” but primarily to find out their chief concerns.
Still, everything depends on how soon the league gets its much-awaited go-signal from the government.
“Sana mapayagan ng mag-practice kasi nga walang laro, walang practice, walang uweldo ibang players,” said Marcial. “Pag nagsimula practice doon natin malalaman kung ano ka.”