TNT stars Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy, who both played key roles in their run to the PBA finals, opted to sign a three-year contract extension with the Tropang Giga despite having offers from B. League teams.
Rosario’s contract with TNT was about to expire in December 31, while that of Pogoy had already lapsed – making them poaching targets of the professional league in Japan.
According to multiple sources, the TNT stars were offered deals of $35,000 a month to play in the B.League, but Reyes said they were successful in convincing the pair to stay with TNT instead.
“For me, (there are) a lot of things beyond our control. There’s nothing I can do as a basketball, as a PBA coach about it. But what I can control though, is the environment in my team,” explained Reyes in Call to Arms podcast with Nikko Ramos.
“(I can) make our culture and our environment so engaging for the players that they won’t want to leave,” he said.
The five-time Coach of the Year admitted that the likelihood of Rosario and Pogoy not staying with the Tropang Giga were considerable.
“They had offers dangled in front of them from Japan. There was a very real possibility that we would lose them. So, there was nothing we could offer that would match the number, the dollar sign,” said Reyes
“It was a matter of time for it to come to the PBA. I think we are kidding ourselves if we say that it is not going to happen. It is going to happen and now it’s here,” he explained to Ramos.
‘Not going anywhere’
Reyes’ hopes prevailed as both Rosario and Pogoy are family men.
“But the one thing we could offer are the other things. You know, how we are family here, all of those things,” he said. “Roger signs, and Troy signs, so we have those two guys for the next three years,”
“They’re not going anywhere.”
“We have to make them feel so happy playing here, that they’re willing to give up a difference of a few thousand dollars monthly, to stay here, to stay with their family, with their kids, because they like it here, and because they know that they are growing and developing here,” he added.
Moreover, Reyes knows TNT can’t take its eye off the ball, even with Rosario and Pogoy already signed to maximum deals.
Another player is about to enter a contract year, the former Defensive Player of the Year Poy Erram, who may also receive offers from other countries.
Reyes hopes that the big man feels at home after his second year in TNT.
There are already nine Filipinos playing in both divisions of the B.League while Taiwan’s T1 League and the Korean Basketball League have also emerged as potential destinations.
Even the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia features a Filipino in Kai Sotto.
Reyes hopes that the coming years will serve as a time for all the basketball stakeholders to come together and discuss the issue; to create a better environment for Filipino basketball players.
“But I think also, the PBA has to come together, but it’s also a systemic issue. The entire ecosystem has to come together.”