Banned Air21 guard Wynne Arboleda is hoping the captains of the 10 participating teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) would support his signature drive so he could play in the coming Fiesta Cup.
Arboleda, the Air21 team captain who is seeking to get a second chance in his basketball career, was suspended for the rest of the season after attacking a heckling fan last year.
The Express’ stocky 5-foot-9 playmaker already collected four signatures as of press time with Alaska’s Jeffrey Cariaso, Jimmy Alapag of Talk ‘N Text, Asi Taulava of Coca-Cola and Air21 assistant captain Carlo Sharma threw in their support.
Arbolda expects other team captains to support his bid of asking the PBA board to lift his season-long ban and allow him to play in the import-laced Fiesta Conference.
“Medyo kumikilos tayo ng kaunti at humihingi ng tulong sa kapwa natin team captains na payagan na tayong lumaro," Arboleda told GMANews.TV. “Sa palagay ko, sapat na yung naranasan ko na penalty."
“So far, nakaka-tatlo pa lang kami. But I’m confident na makakakuha pa kami ng pirma from other team captains."
Arboleda’s name was included in the Air21 line-up that was submitted to the PBA office. His inclusion fueled speculations that he might be reinstated anytime and could suit up for the Express in the Fiesta Cup.
PBA chairman and Air21 team manager Lito Alvarez said the reason for Arboleda’s inclusion doesn’t mean the four-time All-Defensive Team member is now allowed to play.
Alvarez added they cannot replace Arboleda’s spot as teams are prohibited to replace a suspended player.
“And even if nilagay namin siya sa lineup, may open and close parenthesis doon which states suspended. It is also one way of thinking positive na baka we can persuade commissioner Sonny Barrios to reinstate him. We feel enough na rin yung penalty na naibigay sa kanya."
Barrios wasn’t surprised to see Arboleda’s name in the lineup.
“It’s short of saying Air21 wants to have a positive outlook," said Barrios. “There’s nothing wrong with that."
But Barrios clarified he hasn’t received any formal letter from Arboleda’s camp seeking for the lifting of his suspension.
“The truth is, I have yet to receive any letter from them," said Barrios. “But if they’re gathering signatures from the team captains, I assume na isasabay na nila dyan yung letter or wait and see if they can get more signatures."
“Parang gaya ng sa mga tatakbo na gumawa ng signature campaign. They want to know first if they can get more signatures before they run." – GMANews.TV