Newsome's agent blasts Tanduay Light coach over D-League dispute

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine sports agent Charlie Dy fired back at PBA D-League head coach Lawrence Chongson on Tuesday, October 14, claiming that the coach's claims about Dy's client, Chris Newsome, are "misleading."

Over the past few days, Chongson, who coaches Tanduay Light in the PBA D-League, said through different media outlets that Newsome, their draft pick in the recent 2014 PBA D-League Draft, could not be contacted during the five day period in which D-League squads are allowed to submit tender offers to their draft picks before the latter becomes a free agent.

Chongson claims that Newsome evaded Tanduay during those five days.

Puwede bang ganun na ’yung player magtatago pa lang ng ilang araw, ligtas ka na?” Chongson said to Spin.ph.

(Is that allowed? The player will just hide for a few days and he's safe?)

Dy rebutted Chongson's accusation, saying that Newsome was waiting for someone from Tanduay to contact him during the five day period but failed to get word from anyone - not even from the head coach himself.

"He (Newsome) was waiting for them to get in touch with him, but nobody got in touch with him," Dy told Rappler in a phone conversation on Tuesday afternoon.

Newsome was taken second overall by Tanduay in the D-League Draft on September 15, but was presented with a tender offer only seven days later on September 22.

"Monday night (September 22) during Ateneo's practice, Tanduay team manager Jean Alabanza went there after the practice to ask Chris to sign the tender offer, which was already past the deadline," Dy said.

"He (Newsome) refused to sign, so Alabanza called me at 9 pm. I told Alabanza I would have to consult the PBA office, because I know of the rules."

After Dy clarified the matter with the PBA office the following day, September 23, he later received confirmation that Newsome was already a free agent from Alabanza as well, who mentioned that Tanduay still had plans of pursuing Newsome despite the latest development.

Later that night, Dy received a call from Chongson.

"Tuesday evening I got a call from Lawrence Chongson, asking me to help him get Newsome to sign with them."

"Chongson said they would look stupid if they don't get to sign Newsome and Alabanza would have to tender his resignation," recalled the sports agent. 

Dy said that Alabanza's reason for not contacting Newsome sooner was because he didn't want to bother the latter, who at that time was still playing his final season with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, which just finished atop the UAAP men's basketball elimination round league standings.

However, the sports agent says Alabanza's reason for the delay was not substantial.

"He (Alabanza) knew Ateneo didn't have a game because they had a bye," Dy said, referring to the 11-day break (September 13-24) Ateneo received as they awaited the winner of the knockout match between the NU Bulldogs and UE Red Warriors to determine who would face the Blue Eagles in the Final Four.

By the time Chongson requested for Dy's help on the evening of September 23, it was already a day before Newsome and Ateneo would begin their postseason.

"I told him I don't want to bother the kid because they're in the Final Four, which was going to start on Wednesday (September 24)," Dy said.

"They knew they made a booboo."

Enter Hapee

Not long after denying Chongson's request, Dy had to follow a similar route with another PBA D-League team, Hapee Toothpaste.

"I got a call from Hapee after Lawrence called me, saying that they found out Chris Newsome is a free agent, and they want to make an offer. But I told them I don't want to talk to anyone yet because I would have to wait until after the UAAP (when Ateneo's season would end)."

After his Blue Eagles were eliminated by the Bulldogs in the Final Four round, Newsome, who was a free agent, made the decision to sign with Hapee instead.

"He decided to go with Hapee because of the coach, Ronnie Magsanoc, who's also an assistant coach of Ateneo. And because they're practices are nearer to Ateneo and he (Newsome) has two semesters left to graduate. It's better that he plays for Hapee because he can have better time to adjust," said Dy.

When asked if Newsome will be in a Hapee uniform along with other notable standouts such as Bobby Ray Parks Jr, Arnold Van Opstal, and Ola Adeogun once the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup opens on October 27, Monday, Dy confidently said "Yes."

"He was declared a free agent by the PBA, he was signed by Hapee, so all the process are in consonance with the PBA rules."

"He's making the players look bad."

Spin.ph reported on Monday, October 13, that Chongson and Tanduay sent an appeal to the PBA Commissioner's office, searching for intervention from the league as they try to re-acquire Newsome for their roster.

“Hopefully, the commissioner can see the light that this episode could do or undo future drafting exercises. Just to at least preserve the sanctity and integrity of the process,” said Chongson was quoted in the report.

The head coach also continues to claim that Newsome hid from Tanduay during the five day stretch following the draft.

"Honestly I hope he (Chongson) will say the truth. Because for him to blame that Chris Newsome hid from them so he cannot get their offer is totally misleading," Dy said to Rappler.

"When Lawrence Chongson called me Tuesday night after the deadline, after Chris was declared a free agent, he asked me to help him."

"He said it was the fault of the team manager. He knew there was a shortcoming on their part to comply, so that's why I was surprised he's now saying Chris Newsome hid from them and he would make an appeal. It's totally false."

It's not the first time in recent memory Chongson has been the subject of controversy. 

During contract extension negotiations a few weeks ago between PBA team Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and their star point guard Paul Lee, who at that time was in Spain for the 2014 FIBA World Cup with Gilas Pilipinas, Chongson, Lee's agent, was often seen and heard in the media claiming that his client demanded a trade - even mentioning potential landing points - and not being satisfied with the amount being offered by the Elasto Painters.

Eventually, Lee and Rain or Shine agreed on a deal that will keep the point guard with the team for at least two more years, but not before a bad light was cast on top of the Gilas player.

"I think he's been doing that for a long time. He's making the players look bad, I don't know why. He shouldn't be saying things that are false," Dy said about Chongson.

When asked if he and Newsome are threatened by Chongson and Tanduay's appeal to the PBA Commissioner's office, the sports agent flatly said, "No.” - Rappler.com