MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said yesterday he will allow rookie Bobby Ray Parks to play out his contract with San Miguel Alab in the ABL before joining Blackwater in the PBA, citing precedents involving Alvin Patrimonio, Don Allado, Scottie Thompson and Christian Standhardinger to support the decision.
Parks, 25, was picked second overall in the first round by Blackwater in the PBA draft last December. Blackwater PBA governor Silliman Sy confirmed that in Parks’ draft application, there is a condition on the second page that he will fulfill his ABL obligations before moving to the PBA. But Sy admitted he wasn’t aware of the condition before Parks was drafted. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway as Blackwater was determined to enlist Parks.
Sy said he recently met with Parks and his agent Charlie Dy to discuss the situation. San Miguel Corp. sports director Alfrancis Chua said if Parks wanted, he would be released from Alab to join Blackwater at his discretion but it wasn’t likely the former NU star would forego the prospect of winning another ABL championship. Sy left it up to Marcial to decide Parks’ case. “Whatever the Commissioner decides, we will abide,” said Sy. “But when we ended our meeting with Ray-Ray and Charlie, we shook hands. We agreed in principle on the terms of our offer.”
Sy said there was no formal request for Marcial to settle the issue. “We didn’t send a written letter to the Office of the Commissioner but Commissioner Willie phoned and we discussed the matter,” he said. “There was no need for a formal notice from the Commissioner. I discussed with Deo (Ever Bilena CEO and Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy) as early as last Thursday morning and we respect the Commissioner’s decision. We all agreed that the maximum is Ray-Ray will finish the ABL season before joining us.”
Blackwater’s offer for Parks is a three-year P10.4 Million deal. The package is broken down into a monthly salary of P200,000 in the first year, P250,000 in the second and P420,000 in the third. The maximum monthly pay for a rookie was recently increased from P150,000 to P200,000. At the moment, the maximum monthly pay for a player at least on his third year is P420,000 although there is a move to increase it to P500,000.
Marcial said as soon as Parks finishes his Alab obligations, he can jump straight into the PBA. “If it happens that Blackwater is still contention in the Houston Filipino Restaurant Cup, Ray-Ray can join (as long as it’s before the playoffs cut-off),” said Marcial. “There are precedents to this case, like Alvin who was allowed to play out his PABL contract, Don who finished his UAAP obligations, Scottie who completed his NCAA season and Christian who ended his Hong Kong contract in the ABL before joining the PBA. They were drafted even while they had existing obligations in other leagues.”
In the offseason, Blackwater traded Poy Erram to NLEX and Nards Pinto to Phoenix. In return, the Elite took in rookies Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter and veterans Joseph Eriobu and Gelo Alolino. Another newcomer is rookie guard Diego Dario who was Blackwater’s third round pick in last month’s draft. A key addition to the coaching staff is PBA legend Romel Adducul who was tapped to work with the team’s big men. Former PBA coach Ariel Vanguardia joined the front office as alternate PBA governor.
A positive sign was Blackwater’s 103-98 win over San Miguel Beer in a practice game last Tuesday. “Nakatsamba kami,” said Elite coach Bong Ramos. “First tune-up namin and SMB wasn’t in shape yet. We just executed what we’d been doing in training. The team is still on learning and corrections.”
Ramos said the UP connection of Desiderio and Dario is a big boost. “Medyo galing sa three days off kasi nagkasakit si Paul but his contribution sa tune-up enough naman after galing sa sakit,” said Ramos. “Paul played good defense. Dario did his role and he’s OK. Paul, Dario and Abu – our three rookies – have still a lot of room for improvement. We like Abu’s defense, rebounding and extra effort. Romel’s a big help with Abu and the other bigs and he’s working with Mac (Belo), too.”
A missing piece is center Rabeh Al Hussaini. “He has a live contract with us until the end of this coming season,” said Sy. “He wrote a letter explaining he has a family problem and we haven’t been able to contact him. We can understand if a player is undergoing a personal problem and we’ll allow a leave of absence but it can’t be indefinite. There has to be a line drawn between a personal and a professional relationship. It’s too bad because we had big plans for Rabeh now that Poy is no longer with us.”
Sy said when Pinto left, the door opened for Alolino to come in. “We had difficulty negotiating with Nards and even his agent (Danny Espiritu) was exasperated with him,” he said. “We’re lucky to get Eriobu. We checked with Atoy Co, who knows him from Mapua days, and Atoy told us Eriobu’s tough, he has a strong body, can defend and rebound. We signed Gelo to a one-year contract and we think he’s a good addition to our backcourt.”