18 February 2015

Part 2: What is the Legacy of Commissioner Salud?

Second of Four Parts

The lopsided trades continued in 2013 when Salud approved a deal that sent Allein Maliksi of Barako Bull to San Mig Coffee (Purefoods) for hardly used players Wesley Gonzales, Chris Pacana and a 2017 second round pick

It was obvious during the trade that Maliksi was the best player for Barako while Gonzalez and Pacane are both bench players

The trade prompted then Alaska Aces coach Luigi Trillo to write in his Twitter account: “Would you trade James Yap for Bulawan and Celino Cruz? Cannot see the logic in letting a talent like Maliksi go.”

Trillo’s also commented on a series of lopsided trades at the expense of Barako Bull, including one prior to the start of the season where the Mixers traded starting point guard Josh Urbiztondo for a draft pick originally belonging to GlobalPort. With the Batang Pier’s record, the pick is expected to be first and second overall in the next draft.

"I love Urbiztondo’s game, but why would Barako get Urbiztondo and miss out on a chance to acquire a (Greg) Slaughter, (Ray) Parks or (Ian) Sangalang," wrote Trillo.

Urbiztondo had a pit stop with Barako Bull, but was later traded to the Barangay Ginebra San .

During the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft, Barako Bull has three picks in the first round and many are saying that those picks are enough to allow the perennial cellar dweller to strengthen its line-up. However, many raised their eyebrows when Salud allowed Barako to trade its fourth, fifth and sixth picks in a draft class heavy with talent for a slew of unremarkable veteran players.

The fourth pick went to Ginebra who took in Arellano University’s James Forrester and gave up Willy Wilson and Rico Maierhofer. The fifth pick went to Petron which gave up Magi Sison and Mark Isip to Barako, but then Petron later traded the same pick to Globalport which used it to select Far Eastern University’s (FEU) Terence Romeo in exchange for Yousef Taha.

The sixth pick also went to Globalport which chose RR Garcia, also of FEU, and gave Denok Miranda in return.

Salud even defended the decision of Barako Bull to trade its three picks saying the team has all the right to make the trade and it was not for him to second guess the motive of Barako Bull even as he disclosed that this kind of trade is not within the province of the commissioner’s office to meddle into.

A few days after the 2014 rookie draft, Salud also approved a very complex transaction that allowed No.2 draft pick Kevin Alas to reach the Talk n Text Tropang Texters.

Alas, a former D-League star and Gilas cadet player was picked by Rain or Shine Elastopainters second overall behind Stanley Pringle in the draft. He was later acquired by NLEX Road Warriors in exchange for a future draft pick.

NLEX and Talk n Text later agreed to deal with Blackwater Elite where Alas jumped from NLEX to Blackwater and finally to Talk n Text. The Road Warriors got NiƱo Canaleta in giving up Alas while the Elite acquired the services Larry Rodriguez.

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 at no cost at all, but Blackwater surprisingly snubbed him. Their reason: they already have at that time the aging and unproductive Danny Ildefonso.

What made the trade even more lopsided is that Blackwater also gave away its 2015 first round pick, which will probably one of the top three, in exchange for TNT’s first round pick, which from all indications will be one of the bottom three, in the same draft period.

Crazy is a word than cannot explain what is happening here in the trading scene under Salud

(To be continued ...)

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