11 October 2014

Another Case of Blackwater Farming?

Larry Rodriguez
No matter how much they deny something, basketball fans can't help but think that something is amiss. There is this lingering feeling that somewhere during the course of negotiation for a trade, somebody from Blackwater Elite hit their head and totally lost their ability to think.

That perception persist after officials of the Tropang Texters, Blackwater Elite and the NLEX Road Warriors agreed on a revised version of the initial deal that was discussed during the PBA board's annual planning session in Seoul, South Korea a few days ago.

Under the tweaked deal, Blackwater kicked off the movement by sending its 2015 first-round pick to Talk 'N Text for journeyman KG Canaleta. Blackwater then shipped Canaleta to NLEX for Kevin Alas, who was immediately shipped by the Dioceldo Sy-owned team to the Tropang Texters for its own 2015 first-round pick and veteran forward Larry Rodriguez. The deal was approved by the office of Commissioner Chito Salud on 9 October 2014.

Everything would have been moot and widely accepted without all the conspiracy fuzz if not for the fact that Rodriguez was made available a few months ago in the expansion list, but Blackwater surprisingly snubbed him. Their reason: they already have at that time the aging and unproductive Danny Ildefonso.

"During the dispersal draft, we really wanted Larry. But remember, we already took in Danny Ildefonso as our first pick. Pero sino ang mag-aakala na hindi namin mapapapirma si Ildefonso?" said Blackwater Elite team owner Dioceldo Sy , whose team is also uncertain about rookie big man Frank Golla, who was recently diagnosed with a heart ailment.

Anybody believed this poor excuse? The 6-foot-4 Rodriguez will definitely be an asset to any team that picks him. If an expansion team skips Rodriguez and opted for a 6-foot-6 Ildefonso, then there is something wrong with their scouting reports. There is a big difference between Ildefonso's 3.1 PPG last season and Rodriguez's 4.6 PPG.

More importantly, Blackwater can have both at no cost. But now they acquired Rodriguez in exchange for their 2015 first pick, which will definitely has the big possibility of becoming one of the top three draft hopefuls next year. They also released Ildefonso because of contractual dispute and he is now headed back to his former team, the Meralco Bolts.

Worse, Blackwater was not willing to pay Ildefonso more then PhP 200,000 per month, but do they know that Rodriguez is worth more than that? If they were willing to give Rodriguez more than what they are willing to pay Ildefonso, then they should have pick him earlier instead of giving Rain or Shine a chance to ship him to the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters.

"Basically, we only sacrificed our pick but we got Talk 'N Text’s pick and Larry Rodriguez, so what should we whine about?" said Sy after critics questioned the Elite’s decision to act as conduit for the two MVP-owned ballclubs.

No Mr. Sy. You see there is no need for anybody to sacrifice anything if only your team used its brain and picked Rodriguez with or without Ildefonso. Why not pick both when they are not competing for the same position? Why release Ildefonso unconditionally? Are all of these trades premeditated and orchestrated from the start? Why deal your first round pick when it could have netted you more than just Rodriguez?

These are just some of the questions that persist, which to an average PBA fan, are becoming too frequent these days and put a dark cloud on the credibility to the whole parity issues of the PBA.

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