Ex-PBA players find new home in PCBL
Alder Almo (Philstar.com) - October 10, 2015 - 4:00am

MANILA, Philippines -- Former PBA players found another lease of life in their basketball careers with the emergence of the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League.

PCBL chairman Buddy Encarnado emphasized that the fledgling commercial league will not compete with any existing league but will try to bridge the gap between the collegiate ranks and the pro league and at the same time give young ex-pro players another shot at making a comeback.

"The more teams, the more leagues, the more opportunity for these players.  Nakakalungkot kasing isipin minsan na may mga 27, 28 years old pa lang eh ex-pro na. So dito sa PCBL bibigyan natin sila ng tsansa na makabalik ulit sa PBA," Encarnado said during the league launch on Friday at Max's Restaurant in Tomas Morato.

Marcy Arellano, AJ Mandani, James Martinez, Jett Vidal and JP Belencion lead a bunch of ex-pros who will see action in the Founders' Cup -- the first offering of the new league that is penciled to have three conferences in its inaugural season.

Vidal, who was the former top gun of NCAA's Perpetual Help Altas, never landed a contract in the PBA after being drafted in the fourth round in 2013 by Barako Bull. 

"Natutuwa ako na nagkaroon ng ganitong liga para sa aming mga players. Malaking tulong ito para sa amin na gusto pa ring ituloy yung pangarap naming makapaglaro sa PBA," Vidal told Philstar.com.

The 5-foot-11 Vidal will play for the Sta. Lucia Realtors in the league that has an age limit of 33 years old and two Fil-foreigners recruit each team.

PCBL has also set a monthly salary cap limit of P50,000 at maximum and a minimum of P15,000 while promising a 12-month, year-round income for the players.  A won game bonus was capped at P1,000 while semifinals and finals bonuses were pegged at half month and one-month bonus, respectively, leaving only the championship bonus to the teams' discretion. 

Encarnado challenged the ex-pros to set an example for the youngers players in the fledgling league that was tapped by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to form teams for the Southeast Asian Games and SEABA tournaments. 

Belencion, who will suit up for Supremo Lex Builders, said that there are more pressure for ex-pros like him to deliver in the league.

"Basta ako dadalhin ko kung ano yung natutunan ko sa PBA dito. I'll try to lead by example at i-share sa mga kakampi ko yung mga natutunan ko doon [sa PBA]," said Belencion, who had a brief stint in the PBA with the GlobalPort Batang Pier. 

The PCBL will open on Sunday with a double-header at the Pasig Sports Center.  The Realtors will face Racal's Kama Motors in the curtain-raiser at 4 p.m. followed by match pitting Foton Toplander and Kama's sister team Caida Tiles Master at 6 p.m. The games will be televised on AksyonTV on delayed basis. 

BARAKO BULL BATANG PIER BELENCION BUDDY ENCARNADO CAIDA TILES MASTER ENCARNADO FOTON TOPLANDER AND KAMA JAMES MARTINEZ LEAGUE NBSP VIDAL
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