14 October 2013

Al-Hussaini and Omolon Traded to the Bolts

Rabeh and Nelbert
The Office of the PBA Commissioner just approved a deal that could further boost the chances of Meralco Bolts in the coming All-Filipino Conference.

In a three-way trade, the Bolts gave up Noy Baclao and erstwhile superstar Macmac Cardona to acquire underrated center Rabeh Al-Hussaini from Talk ‘N Text and defensive specialist Nelbert Omolon from Air21 Express.

The complex trade involved eight players in total with the Express giving up their center Rob Reyes, a second round draft pick in 2015 all to the Texters. They acquired the services of Cardona from the Bolts, Pamboy Raymundo and Bambam Gamalinda from the Texters.

Cadona will be reunited not only with his former college coach Franz Pumaren at the Express camp but also with former La Salle stars Joseph Yeo, Renren Ritualo, Carlo Sharma, and Simon Atkins.

The Texters may have lost Al-Hussaini to the Bolts, Raymundo and Gamalinda to the Express, but they acquired a very-effective-when healthy center in Reyes, a future 2015 second round draft pick, a former Ateneo stand out Eric Salamat all from the Express plus back-up power-forward Baclao from the Bolts.

When dust settled, the Bolts may be the biggest winner in the trade. With the resurgence of John Wilson as an offensive and defensive threat, the acquisition of scorer Gary David from Globalport, the Bolts had no more room for Cardona. Trading the former La Salle star to acquire Al-Husaini, the Bolts are now able to address their limited ceiling and could finally move the undersize Reynel Hugnatan to his natural power-forward position.

Al Husaini played five seasons for the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) from 2005 to 2009 and led the Eagles to back-to-back basketball championships in his last two seasons with them. He averaged 24.6 point per game, 13 rebounds per game, and 2 assists per game.

He entered the 2010 PBA Draft, and was selected as the second overall pick by the Air21 Express. He made his PBA debut with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 1 assist in a loss to the San Miguel Beermen on 8 October 2010.

Nelbert ‘Bitoy’ Omolon, on the other hand was considered by many as a biggest surprise in the 2004 draft that included Rich Alvarez, Marc Pingris, James Yap, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gary David, Sonny Thoss and Wesley Gonzales.

Drafted 8th overall by the defunct Sta. Lucia Realtors, the come-backing Bolts proved that he is a versatile player who can score inside and outside, and can play multiple positions as well. On 13 January 2008, Omolon scored a personal high 40 points on 11-of-16 shooting in the two-point area and hitting 4-of-5 beyond the arc with nine boards as the Realtors routed the Air21 Express.

Omolon became part of the Bolts, when the Sta. Lucia Realtors was purchased by Meralco three years ago. He was traded to the Express in 2012 along with Mark Isip in exchange for Dennis Daa, Mark Canlas and a draft pick.

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