The PBA wants Talk ‘N Text forwards Ranidel de Ocampo and Japeth Aguilar to explain their absence from the PBA All-Star Weekend held in Laoag City last week.
“I will write them a letter tomorrow and ask them to explain their side regarding their absence in the recent All-Star weekend. I will give them two to three days to answer back,” Salud told InterAKTV in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Aguilar was part of the Rookies, Sophomores, Juniors squad and was set to compete in the Slam Dunk contest, while De Ocampo was penciled in as a replacement for injured Talk ‘N Text teammates Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams in the Veterans lineup.
Salud said other members of the Tropang Texters such as coach Chot Reyes, Jimmy Alapag, Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams advised the PBA ahead of time that they won’t be joining the All-Star Weekend. Reyes had prior commitments in his role as executive director of the MVP Sports Foundation, while Alapag was attending to members of his family afflicted by illness. Williams and Castro were both nursing injuries.
Members of the PBA delegation to Laoag were waiting for De Ocampo and Aguilar at the airport until the final minutes of their departure at the Ninoy Aquino Airport Centennial Terminal 2 last Wednesday, but didn’t get any advisory from the two players that they would’t be able to come.
Last Saturday, the PBA tapped Asi Taulava and Sol Mercado to beef up the short-handed Veterans unit while Arwind Santos was forced to join the Slam Dunk to fill the void left by Aguilar.
The absence of the key members of the Talk ‘N Text squad came on the heels of the team’s painful loss to the B-MEG Llamados in Game Seven of their Commissioner’s Cup finals series.
Talk ‘N Text team executive Ricky Vargas told several newspapers last week that the absence of the Tropang Texters from the All-Star Weekend was not a sign of protest. Multiple sources told InterAKTV that team management asked coaches, players, and officials of the squad to take a vacation.
It is unclear whether De Ocampo and Aguilar were suffering from any injuries. While De Ocampo played a key role for the Tropang Texters in the finals, Aguilar saw action in just two games of the seven-game series, playing a total of three minutes.
On Saturday, Aguilar gave a clue about his whereabouts on Twitter. “Enjoying life here at Bora,” he wrote.
Salud said that he’s willing to hear the side of De Ocampo and Aguilar.
“If their explanation will satisfy me, then there’s no need for a sanction or fine,” he said.
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