14 August 2015

Al-Hussaini Gets 1-Year Deal From the Bolts

Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Norman Black
Former Meralco Bolts center, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, is back in the country and he only has one year to prove to everyone that he belongs to the PBA. The former UAAP MVP signed a new, one-year deal with the Bolts last 12 August and that the only time that the franchise is willing to give him.

"His previous contract that we had with him expires on the 31st [of August], so what we did was we signed him to a new one-year contract," team manager Paolo Trillo told online news site Rappler.

It will be recalled that Al-Hussaini’s case was a very peculiar one for the PBA after he went missing-in-action (MIA) during the time when the Bolts was still handled by coach Ryan Gregorio.

In May 2014, the former second overall PBA draft pick took a leave of absence from the team to allegedly fix his citizenship issues in Kuwait. What was originally expected to be just a 10-day trip wound up longer, and Al-Hussaini hasn’t been seen in the PBA since.

"It’s disappointing," was what former Gregorio described the situation then. "I cannot hold back on things like that. I have lofty plans for him. I've traded key players just to get him on board, for him to be part of our team in the future."

Last October 2013, an eight-player trade involving the two teams under the MVP umbrella and Air21 was kicked off when Talk 'N Text gave up Al-Hussaini - coach Norman Black's former star center at Ateneo - for injured big man Rob Reyes and the Express' second-round pick in the 2015 rookie draft.

Air21 then turned around and sent Al Hussaini and Nelbert Omolon to Meralco to get its hands on Baclao and Cardona. In the final step, the Express shipped Baclao and Eric Salamat to Talk 'N Text for rarely used guards Pamboy Raymundo and Bam Gamalinda.

In 2014, Air21 Express was bought the another MVP-owned company, the NLEX Road Warriors.

"Actually, he did ask permission from the management [to work on his dual-citizenship]," Trillo said about Al-Hussaini’s departure last year, "but he was only expecting 10 days to two weeks. When he got there, he experienced all these difficulties. He was told he would have to extend and stay for a year."

Trillo said the 6-foot-7, former Ateneo Blue Eagle also had to deal with family issues while in Kuwait.

Al-Hussaini was still under contract with Meralco for the 2014-2015 PBA season, but didn't play a single minute. His new one-year deal, in essence, is to make up for the recent PBA season he just missed, according to Trillo.

"The year that he didn’t play for us, we just extended it for this year," said the team manager, who added: "So it’s like we just pushed his contract up a year."

No comments:

Post a Comment