PBA teams looking to beef up their rosters with veteran experience or young legs before they head into the Clark bubble have a deep free agent pool from which to choose.
Sol Mercado, Ronald Tubid, RR Garcia, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Ping Exciminiano, Jason Ballesteros, Yousef Taha, Davon Potts, Jansen Rios, JK Casiño, Jerramy King, and Julian Sargent are all available, but teams will only have until September 23 to make a move for any of them, per PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial. Veterans Sonny Thoss and PJ Simon are also technically available, but both players earlier announced their retirement.
Marcial added that teams have been given the green light to extend expiring contracts and add an additional roster player before they head to the bubble at Quest Hotel inside the Clark Freeport Zone for the resumption of the season, which is targeted for October 9. Trades could be permitted once teams are allowed to scrimmage again.
"Pinapayagan na. Puwede ka nang kumuha ng free agent. Yun lang ang transaction natin, extension of the contract and free agent. Wala munang trade-trade. Siguro yung trading, magsi-simula pag nag-scrimmage na tayo," Marcial said.
The dates, however, currently are fluid, as they depend on the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force regarding their request on allowing five-on-five scrimmages.
One team that has made a move is the TNT KaTropa, who picked up big man Chris Javier from Blackwater's unrestricted free agent (with rights to salary) list.
"He will be a great addition to us. He can rebound, hit the outside shot and play defense," TNT team manager Gabby Cui told ESPN5.
Javier is signed through Dec. 31, and is set to assume the roster spot left open by Kelly Williams, who announced his retirement recently. The fourth-year player hardly saw action for the Elite in the recent Governors' Cup, putting in numbers of just 1.8pts, 0.5 rebounds and 0.5 steals in just four games as he competed for minutes on a loaded Blackwater frontline.
Each team will be allowed to bring 25 people into the months-long bubble. This includes players, coaches and team personnel. If one violates the protocol set by the PBA and IATF, he will be fined P100,000, a month's worth of salary, and a suspension of five games in the next season.