PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial has given the green light for all 12 teams to pick players from the free agent pool now that the league is about to resume its 45th season.
The league chief made the announcement on Thursday, moments after the board of governors convened at the PBA Office, where they chose Clark to be its venue for the bubble for the season restart.
So far, free agency recruitment remains the only allowable transaction besides signing expiring deals to extensions. The league may allow player trades again when scrimmages start, according to Marcial.
Should it gain the nod from the Inter-Agency Task Force, the PBA looks to start scrimmages by Sept. 27 — just a few weeks before its target date for season resumption on Oct. 9.
“Pwede ka nang kumuha ng free agent,” said Marcial.
“‘Yun pa lang transaction natin — extension of the contract, free agent. Wala munang trade-trade. Siguro trading, baka magsimula ‘pag nag-scrimmages na tayo.”
The free agent pool runs deep, with veterans PJ Simon and Sonny Thoss on the list. Simon and Thoss both declared that they would retire at season’s end, but saw things halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It remains unknown whether the two decorated cagers will sign up and play with their respective ball clubs inside the bubble before finally hanging up their basketball sneakers for good.
Also in the pool is veteran guard Sol Mercado, who was part of a trade earlier this year that sent him from NorthPort to Phoenix. He and the Fuel Masters failed to find a compromise on a deal, though.
Ronald Tubid, RR Garcia, Davon Potts, Jansen Rios, Jaymo Eguilos, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Jaypee Mendoza, Chris Exciminiano, Yousef Taha, Jason Ballesteros, JK Casino, Jerramy King, and Julian Sargent are FAs as well.
TNT KaTropa was the first to make a move, having reportedly signed Chris Javier. The flagship MVP franchise is filling up the hole left by former league Most Valuable Player Kelly Williams, who recently retired.
PBA teams have until Sept. 23 to submit their 15-man roster, plus a reserve player, for the season restart in the Clark bubbl. Each team is allowed to bring in 25 people consisting of players, coaches, and personnel.