The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will welcome a history-making change for its 2022 season by rolling out its first batch of unrestricted free agents (UFA).

Under a monumental agreement, which was initiated by late Purefoods governor Ely Capacio, the pro league board of governors ruled that all players will automatically become UFAs at the end of their seventh season in the PBA. 

However, the measure will not be applied retroactively. According to the league, only players who were part of the 2014 draft class and beyond will be eligible as UFAs. 

Before the UFA rule was implemented, all players who had finished their contracts were classified as restricted free agents. This meant that their signing rights remained under the control of their mother teams. 

Prominent figures that are expected to be UFAs next year include 2014 draftees Jericho Cruz and Chris Banchero. 

Cruz, who plays as a guard for the NLEX Warriors, will reach the end of his contract at the end of the season, Coach Yeng Guiao confirmed. However, Guiao revealed his intent to keep Cruz, noting negotiations are already being set up.

“I’m confident he’ll want to stay,” Guiao told Spin.ph.

Banchero, who’s currently with Phoenix, is in the same situation. 

Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle and the Warriors’ Kevin Alas were also expected to become UFAs for next season, however, both have signed new contracts with their respective teams, sources say.

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Image credit: PBA