PBA players’ pay, team cap on salaries raised

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MANILA, Philippines – There are a lot more reasons to play in the Philippine Basketball Association these days.

The league’s board of governors approved on Thursday, a 20-percent increase in the individual salary cap for players, putting the ceiling now at P420,000 per month while boosting the team cap to P42 million from P36 million.

On top of that, the board also gave ball clubs a free hand in giving out bonuses like multimillion-peso incentives to players during championship playoffs.

“We didn’t like it initially,” Mamerto Mondragon, the new league chair representing Rain or Shine, said of the approved increase. “But we realized that we have to strengthen the teams and we have to make some adjustments.”

Mondragon, though, admitted that not being able to put a limit in by-phase bonuses would work for “richer” teams, which have been rumored to be very open in promising their players bonuses amounting to the equivalent of up to seven months of their basic pay.

“We just have to live with that,” Mondragon said.

The new cap applies to every player, even to those who signed fresh pacts like Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine, who inked a two-year extension worth the old ceiling of P350,000 a month.

Those players who signed new deals and even those who have existing pacts can renegotiate to get the new maximum with their mother ballclubs.

“They can renegotiate,” Mondragon said. “But as far as we [teams] are concerned, they have to perform first.”

The decision of the board came in the wake of Alaska owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu’s allegations of under-the-table transactions practiced by some of the richer teams in the league.

“Now we have elbow room to give more,” JB Baylon of Powerade, the vice-chairman, said.

The P420,000 cap is just P80,000 shy of the all-time high that teams paid superstar players like four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio, Jun Limpot, Marlou Aquino, Dennis Espino, Boy Cabahug and Kenneth Duremdes in the past.

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