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Pacquiao has to join PBA draft

MANNY PacquiaoThe PBA Board of Governors yesterday deepened and widened the expansion pool from which the three incoming teams will draw from to fill up their rosters for their maiden season this October.

Manila, Philippines – From the current play-14 policy per ballclub with two reserves, each team will now be allowed to suit up only 12 players, freeing up more talent to the expansion draft.

Those released by their ballclubs will then join unrestricted free agents and undrafted rookies in vying for the attention of NLEX, Kia Motors and Blackwater Sports at the end of the 2014 season on the second week of July.

“We will thereby be instituting a policy requiring teams to protect just 12 players,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

Veteran players like Marlou Aquino, Kenneth Duremdes and Don Allado, who reports said are considering making a comeback after years of inactivity, can negotiate directly with any of the three new teams, said PBA operations director Rickie Santos.

Once these teams have had their fill of the available players in the expansion draft, all 10 regular PBA ballclubs can pick two reserves from the pool to add to their trimmed-down 12-man lineup.

The order of picks for the three newcomers will be determined by lottery just before the expansion draft, according to Salud.

As an additional concession, the board allowed the three teams to exercise their rights for the 11th, 12th and 13th picks in the first round of the August 24 Rookie Draft at Robinson’s Place in Ermita, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks in the second round, and whoever else they want from the third round onward.

The request of the neophyte ballclubs, especially NLEX, for the PBA to allow them to directly sign up incoming rookies like Bobby Ray Parks, Kevin Alas, Garvo Lanete and Ronald Pascual, if they decide to join the draft, was turned down by the board however.

With no direct hiring allowed, this means 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who has expressed his desire to join the lineup of Kia Motors, will have to apply for inclusion to the draft like all others and await his turn to be called onstage by Salud come Draft Day.

The 2015-16 season unfolds on Oct. 19 with a 5-days-a-week doubleheader schedule, four of them in regular venues and Saturdays in the provinces.

Seven of those 10 games will be aired lived on TV5, while three (1st game on Tuesday-Wednesday-Friday) will be on AksyonTV 41 also live.

Meanwhile, Salud has summoned to a 1 p.m. meeting today Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao and Meralco sophomore Cliff Hodge to give their side on an altercation that occurred at the end of Wednesday’s game which the Elasto Painters won to level their quarterfinal series, 1-1.

Reports said Guiao, furious over a fist thrown by Hodge that knocked down RoS rookie Raymond Almazan, had waited for Hodge as the teams made their way for the exit and there lashed out at the Bolts forward