Friday, August 5, 2011

Kirby "the kid' Raymundo Does not Renew His Contract to Bmeg Derby Ace Llamados

Star forward Kerby Raymundo’s PBA contract with B-Meg expired last Sunday and now, he’s a restricted free agent. That means while Raymundo remains unsigned, B-Meg has the right of first refusal on his services for a year. Theoretically, if Raymundo decides to sit out this coming season, he may negotiate to join any team of his choice in the 2012-13 campaign.

But it doesn’t look like Raymundo will leave B-Meg. The reason why Raymundo’s not rushing a renewal is because he wants to prove to B-Meg management that he’s fit, ready to play and deserving of another contract. That only proves Raymundo’s professionalism. He doesn’t want to short-change the franchise that has been so good to him the last nine years.

Raymundo, 30, used to be known as “The Kid.” He was initially in the Red Bull roster, elevated from the PBL with five others (DaVonn Harp, Jimwell Torion, Lordy Tugade, Junthy Valenzuela and Bernard Tanpua) in a concession to the franchise in its debut season in 2000. Then, Raymundo was traded to Purefoods in 2002. If he was called “The Kid” in his early PBA days, now he’s “The Man.”

In the Fiesta Conference last season, Raymundo played in only two of 31 games. He sat out 19 contests to start the conference then came back to play two games against Rain Or Shine in the quarterfinals. Still feeling pain in his hip, Raymundo was deactivated the rest of the conference. He flew to the US in August and after three weeks of medical appointments, underwent hip surgery. Determined to bounce back, Raymundo began rehabilitation two days after the operation. The therapy was a tedious process and took four months.

Meanwhile, the new PBA season had begun. Raymundo missed the entire Philippine Cup where B-Meg was eliminated by eventual champion Talk ‘N’ Text in six games in the semifinals. In the Commissioner’s Cup, Raymundo was back in harness and played five games, averaging 13.2 points. He looked fit in scoring 22 points against the Tropang Texters last April 11. Then came another blow. In an exhibition game in Cebu during the offseason, Raymundo suffered a fracture in his foot and it struck him out for the Governors Cup.

Raymundo said the fracture has healed but he’s been advised to sit out the rest of the conference. B-Meg played its last game of the season against Petron last night.

On Aug. 15, Raymundo flies to Los Angeles to undergo strengthening exercises with conditioning coach John Meyer of the University of Southern California and sharpen his basketball skills with coach Paul Mitalski. He’s paying his own way. Raymundo doesn’t want to burden B-Meg management further and wants to show his gratitude by working on his own to get stronger for the team next season.

“Okay na injury ko,” said Raymundo. “I’ll be working on my strength and conditioning in the US so when the All-Filipino conference starts, I’ll be ready. This setback is a set up for a greater comeback.”

PBA chairman and B-Meg Governor Rene Pardo confirmed that Raymundo has not signed a renewal. “He wants to go to the US at his own expense for conditioning, to come back two to three weeks after and sit down for contract renewal with us,” said Pardo. “We still have rights to him for a year.”

It’s not too often that you encounter a pro athlete like Raymundo who won’t take advantage of his team management’s generosity. He wants to prove he’s worth the team’s investment and insists to do it his way, on his own. When he returns from the US in playing condition, that’s the time he’ll present himself to management for a contract renewal. Raymundo is a shining example for all professional athletes.

Source:  Joaquin Henson, The Philippine Star

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