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Makati Super Crunch owner says pandemic forced him to cut contracts

Makati’s team that competed in Game Three of the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Lakan North Finals on Wednesday afternoon was far from the squad that stunned defending champion San Juan on their home turf 364 days ago.

Gone were the likes of Jeckster Apinan, Ced Ablaza, Jhong Baloria, Joseph Sedurifa, Rudy Lingganay, and Joshua Torralba — the ragtag core that had been carrying the Super Crunch-backed squad all season long.

Instead, David Carlos, Edwin Asoro, Bhabap Sta. Maria, Carlo Lloren, and Kako Morales lined up. All of them were brave enough to still step on the court of Subic Bay Gymnasium while withstanding the comments made on social media against them.

Prior to tip-off, Apinan, Ablaza, Baloria, Sedurifa, Lingganay, and King Importante went on Mikee Reyes’ YouTube channel to talk about why they took the tough route of not playing for Makati.

Allegations were raised that team owner Paolo Orbeta has not honored their contracts since March. That was in direct disobedience the league’s memorandum that states that teams should pay their players at least 20-percent of their contracts until it lapses. Moreover, the group raised that they were being short-changed by Orbeta regarding pay for bubble play.

Orbeta went on social media to explain himself, stressing that the pandemic hit his business hard, forcing him to trigger the force majeure clause on his players’ contracts.

MPBL-Playoffs-San-Juan-vs.-Makati-Baloria-2405 Makati Super Crunch owner says pandemic forced him to cut contracts Basketball MPBL News  - philippine sports news

“When the pandemic hit, my business was immediately hit, operations were shut down completely. I had staff who I needed to care for etc. This coincided with the last game against San Juan being delayed. We had to make a tough decision when it came to the team. Now let me be clear, many of the players were already out of contract since December 2019 and we just continued with the games without drafting new ones. We felt that it wasn’t needed because everyone wanted to play anyway,” read his post.

“When the lockdown commenced, we sadly enforced the Force Majeure clause written in all the players’ contracts for a few who were remaining.”

The group also cited that team sponsor Super Crunch had already allocated a budget for the players — including their remaining pay for the months of March and April. Sadly, it did not reach them.

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According to Orbeta, he had been very “transparent” with the players with regards to the team’s finances. And he claimed to have shown them that the money they get from the backer was not enough to cover their expenses.

MPBL-2019-Executive-Game-Orbeta-2 Makati Super Crunch owner says pandemic forced him to cut contracts Basketball MPBL News  - philippine sports news

“In a Zoom meeting last year, we showed the team a PowerPoint presentation itemizing all expenses incurred for the whole season. It showed that even with a major sponsor, our expenses were way beyond the contract. Our contract with the sponsor encompasses all expenses that the team incurs be it meals, practice venues, and travel, and was never intended for allowances alone,” he continued.

“It also showed that a lot of the expenses were shouldered by me. We even had payments to suppliers that haven’t been paid in full yet. We were very transparent with them.”

Orbeta admitted that he offered the ex-pros a 15-day contract to just have one last run with Makati. “We offered a 15-day contract based on their original full monthly allowance plus bonuses. They countered us with demands that quite frankly, I cannot afford at the moment.”

The players then claimed that the classic switcheroo took place during the negotiations, and that the homegrown and amateur players were on the receiving end of the stick. The ex-pros even offered a fair deal that would benefit all but saw it rejected.

“We did however ask them to play and we will try to give them up to three months allowance. The players said they will think about it. We told them to text our manager YES or NO and if they don’t text at all, then that means no. NO ONE TEXTED. We had to move forward with the five players that said yes, we even got additional homegrown players in the hopes that they can help,” said Orbeta.

This has been a messy ending for the league’s Cinderella team. Besides losing via a 77-point rout in Subic, the relationship between players and team officials is beyond repair.

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Still, Orbeta plans on rejoining next season as he closed his statement saying, “See you all next season!”

2021-MPBL-Lakan-North-Finals-San-Juan-vs-Makati-Edwin-Asoro-David-Carlos-Bhabap-Sta.-Maria-Carlo-Lloren-and-Kako-Morales Makati Super Crunch owner says pandemic forced him to cut contracts Basketball MPBL News  - philippine sports news

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