Vargas questions Lassiter trade
MANILA, Philippines—The player transfer form request that would send sensational Powerade rookie Marcio Lassiter to Petron Blaze was finally received by the PBA Tuesday, prompting one prominent board member to comment that “it doesn’t make sense.”
Ricky Vargas, the PLDT franchise’s representative to the board, yesterday called on the Coca-Cola management to declare its intentions since “it doesn’t make sense for Coke to be trading away its good players if they are staying (in the PBA).”
At past lunch yesterday, a transfer form signed by Powerade’s JB Baylon and Hector Calma of Petron formally asked for the league’s approval of the trade that would send Lassiter to the Boosters in exchange for Nonoy Baclao and Rey Guevarra, a deal that has been brewing since last week.
“Transparency is the issue here,” Vargas told the Inquirer over the phone. “Coke should go up front and tell everyone what is really happening. It’s all over the news, even their players are saying (that the team is leaving the PBA).”
Board chair Mamerto Mondragon of Rain or Shine had in fact called for an emergency board meeting on Friday to find out about the state of the Powerade/Coca-Cola franchise and identify the true buyer.
“We (board) should know who is buying,” Vargas said. “They (Powerade) should declare that ‘We sold it already,’ and if so, who is the buyer. If there is an influence of another owner who already owns teams, that should be scrutinized clearly for the betterment of the league.”
Powerade needs at least a two-thirds vote from the board to be able to consummate its reported sale to the San Miguel group.
San Miguel already owns B-Meg, Petron and Barangay Ginebra.
Vargas wants commissioner Chito Salud to step in and apply the PBA constitution and by-laws in order to maintain balance in the league.
“If they are (resigning),” Vargas said, “there is a provision in the (PBA) constitution that states all signed (players’) contracts (in the disbanding team) should be turned over to the commissioner for the players to be dispersed and maintain the balance in the league.”
The Inquirer broke the story last Monday that Coca-Cola CEO Bill Schultz had already sold its PBA franchise to San Miguel Corp. to the tune of P100 million, and that the Lassiter trade is part of the deal.
Salud, who returns to work tomorrow after a family vacation abroad, said through the league’s media arm that he will “consider and evaluate that trade at the appropriate time.”