20 June 2013

Leveraging More for Taulava

The Taulava Case
One of the rules to follow in negotiating is this: It's not enough to know what you want. You also need to anticipate what the other party wants.

A veteran and respectable institution such as the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) should have known this when they decided to vet their intention to have Asi Taulava play for one of their teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) – the Ginebra San Miguel.

Taulava, whose rights to play in the PBA belongs to the Meralco Bolts, has attracted interest from some teams after his inspired plays carried the San Miguel Beermen to the Asian Basketball League Finals (ABL) Finals and eventually the Title.

The former PBA MVP opted out of the PBA after he decided that he wants to spend more time with his family, although how can he do this with the constant travelling required by the ABL is anybody’s guess. Some sources though gave hint that the real reason was that Taulava felt insulted when he was offered a two-year deal by the Bolts with only 1-year maximum pay guaranteed. He was allegedly asking for a three-year deal.

After delivering the ABL title to SMC, Taulava wasted no time in making his feelings public. He utilized the social media sites, specifically twitter, to express his interest in playing for the Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA. The announcement was followed by insinuations from journalists close to SMC manager Noli Eala that the company is willing to make a deal with the Bolts for the rights of Taulava, but gave no specific numbers or offer.

With all these developments swirling around the media and online forums, with no formal offers being made, the Bolts management made a decisive stance. They beat the SMC to the next punch by announcing that they are willing to part with Taulava for a price, which is expected to be a steep one since the Bolts are not pressured to initiate anything.

Taulava and SMC made a mistake of making their plans public first and the Bolts used that information to their advantage. The first step is to make everyone in the league aware that the Bolts are looking for a high-scoring guard and a consistent small-forward. They made this even more credible by toying with an idea of acquiring gunner John Wilson and former top-pick Noy Baclao from Air21 in exchange for rookie Vic Manuel and the maximum contract of Mark Borboran.

By using precise number or, in this case, specific position and quality of a player, the Bolts gave themselves an upper-hand in the negotiation. The practical argument for this assumption is that the Bolts are showing everyone in the league that they are informed and implied that they have done their homework.

For the Bolts, it's a win-win situation with regards to Taulava. If SMC relents and give them something that will satisfy their appetite, then well and good. Everyone is happy and Meralco will have more players in their stable to choose from. If not, then Asi can continue to play in the ABL and the Bolts can continue to do their thing without Asi just like what they have done for several Conferences already.

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