Bounty Agro Ventures Incorporated President Ronald Mascariñas made a bold statement on Wednesday afternoon during the send-off of Gilas Pilipinas to the 2017 Jones Cup, announcing his company’s intention to bankroll a full-time National Team.
“You serve the country, we will give you the the maximum compensation the PBA can offer and we will take care of you after your playing career is over if you play for the National Team,” declared the founder of Chooks-to-Go.
But even with the huge offer, Mascariñas knows that it will be tough to lure the best of the best in Philippine basketball to commit full-time to this cause. But the businessman plans to jumpstart the program with the aspiring PBA draft hopefuls.
“We’re willing to start from scratch,” he declared.
“Every year naman may papasok sa draft di ba? We’re willing to take the long road.”
Though this pitch has yet to be talked about by Chooks-to-Go, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, and the PBA, this offer, as it stands, will be a game-changer if approved.
Currently, the rookie contract for top picks have a year one salary of PHP 150,000/month. It will increase to PHP 225,000 in year two and end at PHP 337,500 in the final year. What Chooks-to-Go is proposing is that players who will join the National Team will be paid the maximum amount of PHP 425,000 per month (PBA veterans maximum salary).
For top prospects like Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., who are both part of the latest batch of Gilas cadets, this will be another option for players like them.
“Sometimes I have been questioned about my commitment playing for the national team but what he just said, it makes a bigger impact to everybody just like me who wants to play for the country,” said Ravena, who has been eligible to enter the PBA draft since 2016.
“I have to sit down with my agent and think about that but I’m definitely open-minded on joining the draft,” added Parks, who has been draft eligible since 2014.
Looking at the bigger picture, Ravena, 23, believes that this proposal will be good for the National Team program as it can compete on the world stage at a regular basis.
“Not a lot of players will be able to commit full-time to the national team,” the three-time SEA Games gold medalist added.
“The upcoming players who want to play for the national team, if given the chance especially what he said na talagang alaga ka na, ‘di mo na iisipin, that’s a tough one.”
But at the end of the day, Parks, 24, knows that at the end of the day, the PBA is still the end goal of all cagers growing up.
“Until the options present itself, I will take it day-by-day.
“The PBA is there, and it’s a prestigious league and I definitely would love to play there soon,” Parks shared.
And as Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said, this pitch should be something that should be talked about by all parties, as it would not only affect Gilas and the PBA but also the future of aspiring cagers.