Windfall Awaits Top Picks Williams, Santos

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Byline: NOLI CRUZ

KELLY WILLIAMS and Arwind Santos, the top two picks in the PBA Rookie Draft two days ago, seem to have their future secured after their respective ball clubs announced they intend to offer them multi-year contracts at maximum rookie pay.

Sta. Lucia is reportedly finalizing a financial package to the high-leaping and do-it-all Williams which many believed would be hard to resist.

"Kinuwenta na nga namin eh," said team manager Buddy Encarnado. "Around P17.9 million for five years."

Williams, the top pick, will receive P1.8 million on his first year, P2.7 million on his second year, P4.05 million on his third year, and P4.2 million in each of the last two years.

If Williams agreed, he will be the first rookie to sign a five-year deal in league history. The 24-year-old from Detroit, Michigan can get a maximum P150,000 on the first year of his contract with a 50-percent increase on the succeeding years until he reaches the P350,000 ceiling on the fourth year.

When computed, however, Kelly's total package would only be R16.95 million. But counting the bonuses that are expected to be incorporated in the contract, Williams could receive an additional million pesos.

For its part, Air21 is offering the 6-foot-4 Santos a three-year contract.

"He's as good as the top overall pick that's why he deserves to earn as much. Alam naman natin ang kalibre ni Arwind," said Alvarez, who is likely to give Santos a three-year deal approximately worth P8.55 million.

"Walang akong nakikitang problem sa negotiation dahil nakakausap ko na before si Dondon Monteverde (agent of Santos)."

The two-time UAAP MVP will receive R150,000 monthly on the first year and would have a 50-percent increase on the succeeding years.

It means a monthly take of R225,000 on the second year and R337,500 on the final year of his contract.

Alvarez believes the team is in good shape to contend for a championship.

"With Arwind we can go four-big without compromising our running game," Alvarez said.

He's referring to their athletic and mobile frontline composed of Yancy and Ranidel de Ocampo, Santos and KG Canaleta.

Williams is expected to play small forward and start alongside resident stars Marlou Aquino, Dennis Espino, Kenneth Duremdes and Paolo Mendoza.

His ability to find open angles without the ball would be a big help for Sta. …