The controversial trade between the Kia Picanto and the San Miguel Beermen has been approved, PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa confirmed on Friday evening in a presser held before Game Seven of the 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals.
“The deal has been approved,” said the 55-year-old commish, who’d faced a pressure-packed week, as he had to endure plenty of scrutiny from the league’s fans as soon as the then-proposed deal sprung up last October 21.
With the approval, Kia will give up the first pick of the 2017 Rookie Draft this Sunday, and will then receive veterans Ronald Tubid and Jay-R Reyes; young guard Rashawn McCarthy; and SMB’s 2019 first round pick.
And with this development, San Miguel, winners of two titles this season, will most likely nab Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, the consensus top pick in this year’s Draft thanks to his excellent showings with Gilas Pilipinas.
This will be the second time in three years that Kia have traded their top pick — the first back in 2015, when they shipped second overall pick Troy Rosario through a three-way trade with TNT Katropa and NLEX Road Warriors.
The deal had to undergo three revisions in order to earn a go-signal. And the league commish explained how the deal had finally pushed through, saying that Kia had explained to him that the team is in dire need of veterans and a shooter.
“Jay-R okay tayo diyan, and he’ll be able to guard [June Mar] Fajardo. McCarthy [OK din] because they need a point guard and [somebody who] can guard Chris Ross,” he said. “Next they want is [Keith] Agovida [pero] sabi ko ‘di pwede kasi it came from you na you need veterans. So sabi nila ‘boss, kailangan namin ng shooter’ so kailangan nila si Tubid.”
“Sabi ko mukhang pwede,” continued Narvasa.
Narvasa also told in the presser that he’d also had to consider the sentiments of the fans, and that it was something that he had told San Miguel’s team governor Robert Non while assessing the brow-raising deal.
“Si Robert nakausap ko rin [and told him] na ‘please consider the sentiments of the fans.’ Mahal na mahal natin ang PBA. They also want to see balanced teams, [yung tipong] ‘di alam sino mananalo,” shared Narvasa.
And speaking for Kia’s side, Narvasa said that the three-year old franchise, through new team governor Bobby Rosales, explained to the board on Thursday at the league’s office why they had also negotiated with SMB.
“[Kia said] ‘please understand the first two years, hindi kami talaga naga-arrange. We’re starting from zero so I asked Joe Lipa to guide us where we want to go’. He [Rosales] explained it very clearly in front of the board,” he said, “Sabi naman ng board we will support you.”
Now that the deal has been approved, and with the whole board in full support, all eyes will be on Kia and San Miguel heading into the league’s 43rd season, for how will this trade affect both team’s respective campaigns.