01 October 2011

Buying the Grand Slam Feat

PBA Grand Slam
What is a PBA championship worth? How about a semi-finals spot? A winning record? The truth of the matter is that there are no clear-cut answers. Spending money in the PBA isn't all that dissimilar from rolling dice in Manila Casino – you shell out the cash, give them a toss, close your eyes and hope everything works out. Usually, when you open your eyes the chips are gone and all you have is an expired free buffet coupon.

PBA salaries have officially reached a condition that can no longer be described by any spoken or written words. If Alaska owner Fred Uytengsu is to be believed, some teams are recruiting marquee players in their stables by offering millions even if they are already way above the salary cap of Php 36 million. The cap was recently increased to Php 42 million per team. The unbelievable thing about this is that a lot of the teams dishing out most of the cash can't even do a Grand Slam feat. A lot of them don't even have respectable winning records last season, except for Talk N' Text.

The inept franchises, by far, are those owned by the San Miguel Corporation and Manny Pangilinan. It would be stupid not to believe that all five teams – Ginebra San Miguel, Petron Blaze Boosters, BMeg Llamados, Meralco Bolts and Talk N’ Text Phone Pals – did not spend almost a billion pesos combined last season in salaries and yet went zero in the Grand Slam department. Except for the Boosters and the Phone Pals, none came close to achieving the rare feat, but it looks like they are a few seasons away from that goal after former Alaska coach Tim Cone decided to join the Llamdos bench.

This means that a lot of players are getting their hands on a ton of money that they don't deserve. The PBA is a business, and businesses do business for two reasons – to make money and be successful. So why is it that the PBA Commissioner’s Office not adopting enough strict measures to regulate the unfair practices aside from increasing the salary cap and revising the incentive scheme? Again, no answer.

Can anybody explain in the most basic of terms and concepts why there were no Petron players included in the list of those who received maximum pay of PhP 350,000 a month last year? Are you telling me that Jay Washington and Arwind Santos are receiving less than what Reynel Hugnatan is getting from Meralco Bolts? Are you telling me that the two Booster players don’t deserve every centavo that they will be getting if they ask for the maximum pay? For all the things that Washington and Santos achieved on the court, Petron is not spending money to retain their services?

Astonishingly, when you look at the list of the top 15 PBA salaries last season a lot of the players don't belong on it. For example, Gary David and Gabe Norwood failed to carry their respective teams, Powerade and Rain or Shine, to any championship games.

There should be a rule that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) be given a free hand to investigate salary deals before they are submitted to the Commissioner’s Office. If this is the case, then everyone can expect a more competitive league with no farm teams pretending that they can easily beat a college team.

The reality of the PBA is that companies with multiple teams will only reduce their spending on player’s salary if consumers are willing to swallow the bitter pill. The only way to stop the obvious violation of salary cap rule is to stop paying to watch PBA teams live play, which, if you haven't noticed, has already started happening. Do you really think that the PBA is honestly trying to spread sportsmanlike attitude in their out-of-town games rather than build their monetary base using popular teams like Ginebra and BMeg in the process?

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. Very strong points laid our here. And I must say very rational and logical. I think the PBA needs to look closely into this matter.

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