After the NLEX Road Warriors' star guard Kiefer Ravena's signing with the Shiga Lakestars in the Japanese B.League was announced on Wednesday morning, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial made it clear that the "Phenom's" latest career move violates the Uniform Players' Contract (UPC) since he signed a new contract with the team last year.
ESPN5 sought the opinion of Magnolia's long-time team governor Rene Pardo to help explain the UPC and get a better grasp of how it works, what it covers and what Ravena might need to do to get clearance from the league.
(Note: Replies have been edited for brevity and translated from Tagalog or Taglish to full English.)
What exactly is the UPC? Is it a contract between the player and the league or the player and his team?
Mr. Pardo: It's a contract and we call it a Uniform Players Contract. It's a pro forma of the contract and it was designed by the league itself. The contract in essence is signed by the player and the team manager. We (team management representative) sign there (UPC) and then it is forwarded to the PBA office. So the document binds the player and the team management.
Does the UPC contain an exit clause that allows a player to leave his other ballclub any time he wants?
Mr. Pardo: We don't, we don't have that kind of version (speaking in Filipino). (PBA) teams dictate the terms, and the mere fact at the end of his contract, the player is not yet free (to negotiate with another team), that means we still hold the rights.
What are the chances of seeing a PBA player with an existing UPC play elsewhere?
Mr. Pardo: (That's) very remote, if a team will allow you, if the PBA will allow you and the board of governors will allow you (in explaining in Filipino).
In the case of Kiefer Ravena signing with a Japanese team, what should be the process for him to get cleared?
Mr. Pardo: I don't know with NLEX management, but this is just my personal opinion, this (Ravena signing with Lakestars) has not been elevated to the commissioner or to the Board of Governors. Perhaps, the conversation is just within the team. But he (Ravena) will have an agreement with NLEX, then NLEX writes to the league. But it's not as easy as that, because the 11 other teams can say, it's not just their (NLEX) decision, so this will have to be elevated to the Board of Governors, then the commissioner will make a decision and then submit it to the board.