01 October 2010

Uytengsu Actually Made Sense

Fred Uytengsu
It was not a surprise to see Alaska Aces team owner Fred Uytengsu receiving the Executive of the Year Award during the PBA Press Corps Annual Awards at the Gateway Suites in Cubao, Quezon City last 30 September 2010. It was also not surprising to hear him challenging the new Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Chito Salud and officials of other teams to "toe the line" if the PBA, the oldest professional basketball league in Asia, wants to gain the respect of a broader audience.

Listening to Uytengsu criticizing the league may have been expected by many and would tend to ignore them as another set of rants, but if they took some time to actually analyze what he is saying, then one can immediately see the sense from those words.

Uytengsu said:
"Rules cannot be bent and one cannot simply look the other way when dubious trades are made. What has become the practice of selling prized talent to a richer team to enable the selling team to meet its own payroll is not good for the league.

There are many examples of such trades that should have been scrutinized further and would have revealed there is more than meets the eye."
He also added that the practice will eventually distort the balance of parity and may lead the league to the old days of two of three dominant teams.

He emphasized that the salary cap, for both teams and individuals, put in place to create a level playing field, needs to be rigorously policed.
"Is it really believable that some teams can be so talent laden that 10 or even all 12 players on their bench (that would all be starters on most other teams) are within the cap and some of these players supposedly gave up max salaries to stay or move on to a given team?

What about players that are offered sizeable amounts above and beyond the maximum individual cap? Where is the parity in that? If we need to review maximum amounts, then so be it. But you can't have rules that are not enforced!"
He also called on his peers to insure only bona fide Fil-Am players are allowed to play in the league, adding "posers or Fil-Shams" take jobs away from deserving local players and gives legitimate Fil-Ams a bad reputation.
"A lot of the burden (of enforcing the rules) falls on our new Commissioner but it is also incumbent of all teams to reflect on what is right. They must think league first.

Is winning at all costs really the right thing to do? While I may appear righteous in these comments, it is not intended. I am simply calling a spade a spade and I can look anyone in the eye and say that from day one, the Alaska franchise has played by the rules and never attempted to circumvent the system for self benefit. I would rather lose with honor than win with shame."
Uytengsu said he made the call "because I truly love the PBA and hope we can set a better example moving forward and be proud of the legacy we give to the youth."

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