MANILA - After league officials suspended veteran Wynne Arboleda for the rest of the 2009-2010 PBA season, Burger King (BK) is now setting its sights on rebuilding its depleted squad.
BK team manager Lito Alvarez revealed that the Whoppers will hire a replacement for Arboleda’s services because they only have 11 players in the active roster.
“Some players are trying out next week,” Alvarez told abs-cbnNEWS.com in a telephone interview. He added that Whopper Eric Rodriguez is even injured.
The squad was able to secure top draft pick Japeth Aguilar but he opted to play for the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas national team. Aguilar suited up for the Whoppers for only a game.
Arboleda was suspended for attacking fan Alain Katigbac in the 2nd quarter of the BK-Gilas game on October 16.
Katigbac already filed a case of physical injuries against Arboleda and fellow Whopper Mark Yee.
Katigbac’s cursing directed at Arboleda reportedly prompted the veteran player to attack the basketball fan. The complainant claimed he was punched 4 times.
According to the BK team manager, Arboleda’s withheld salary will be used to pay for his replacement. He noted that Arboleda’s spot “will definitely be filled up.”
This was Alvarez's reply when asked to comment on calls for the BK management to donate Arboleda's P2.7 million salary to victims of the recent calamities.
An online petition created by Gang Badoy of volunteer group Rock Ed Philippines called for the same gesture. The petition has 336 signatures at present.
Meanwhile, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said such proposal is not the concern of PBA but of BK. “Wala sa amin,” he said. “Okay naman... open kami doon.”
“We'll ask Wynne saan at papaano,” he said when told about Arboleda’s suggestion.
Alvarez explained that they are working on a budget and there is a specific amount allotted for the basketball team.
He said that in terms of charity, BK is known for helping as it led in giving donations to victims affected by “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”
PLDT Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, who has a stake in BK, lent 13 trucks for relief missions. He also gave other donations such as cups of noodles imported from Indonesia.
He added that the BK branch along Marcos Highway in Marikina City, which was also flooded, served free food to stranded citizens in its second floor.
Moreover, on the day before the unfortunate incident which involved Arboleda and Katigbac, the cager joined the distribution of relief goods in Muntinlupa City. – Report by Ma. Rosanna Mina, abs-cbnNEWS.com