Rain or Shine board governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon disclosed on Tuesday that team management is determined to keep the Elasto Painters intact after this season.
At least 10 players from the team’s current roster have contracts expiring at the end of August led by Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP Paul Lee, vastly-improved shooting guard Jericho Cruz and big man Beau Belga.
However, Mondragon said the team is open to hear the players out once they proceed to the negotiation table next week.
“Depende na rin sa negotiations namin. Pero mago-offer kami sa kanila,” Mondragon told FOX Sports, mentioning that the first batch in the wheeling-and-dealing will include Cruz, Jireh Ibanes and big men Belga, Jewel Ponferada, JR Quinahan and Raymond Almazan.
The amiable Rain or Shine team executive said should negotiations prove unsuccessful, they are not closing the door on exploring the trade route, so long as they get the right pieces.
“Basta bibigyan namin sila ng pagkakataon makalipat as long as may kapalit na maganda,” he said.
As for Lee, Mondragon said they are optimistic that the former PBA Rookie of the Year will stay with the only team he has played for in the pro league since emerging as the no. 2 overall pick in 2011.
“Huli siguro siya (Lee) sa mga kakausapin dahil nasa maximum (monthly contract) na siya. Eh ano pa ba gagawin namin? Iyun din naman io-offer sa kaniya,” he added.
Other Elasto Painters whose contracts are expiring include Gabe Norwood, Jeric Teng and Ronnie Matias. – By Richard Dy
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