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PBA mulls ‘supermax’

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PBA chairman Ricky Vargas

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) floated the idea of having “supermax” deals to secure players’ commitment to their respective teams in the future.

PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said the league is seriously considering the possibility of allowing teams to throw out “supermax” contracts to address possible issues of players seeking better opportunities abroad.

The TNT Tropang Giga governor said the possibility for the PBA to come up with higher contracts could become a way to avoid losing their star players due to lucrative offers being dangled outside the country.

Right now, a handful of young Filipino players, including Kiefer Ravena of NLEX, are competing in Japan while some are in Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia.

Ravena left the league in middle of his three-year contract with the Road Warriors last year.

“We’re seriously talking about that and it requires a lot of thought process. But for the hearsays that there are big offers (abroad), that’s true,” Vargas said.

“There really are big offers, much more than what PBA can offer.”

Recent reports have it that Barangay Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar has caught a lot of attention from teams in the Japanese B.League, drawing the possibility of him becoming the second PBA player to fly abroad following Ravena.

The offer, however, did not pan out as the 34-year old former Ateneo de Manila University star secured a three-year maximum deal with the Kings.

League rules currently cap the veteran maximum salary at P420,000 a month, while rookies can earn up to P200,000 on their monthly salary.

But sources said the Japanese offer more than twice of the PBA’s maximum salary with Aguilar reportedly being dangled an attractive amount of $35,000 – or more than P1.7 million – a month.

Vargas, however, said they still need to further discuss it within the board of governors as it might cause disadvantage and inequality for other teams who are facing budgetary concerns.

“Again, we are also sensitive about teams with budgetary concerns,” Vargas said.

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