The blockbuster trade featuring rising star Calvin Oftana and top rookie Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser drew ice-cold reactions from teams around the Philippine Basketball Association.
A ranking team official raised the alarm, saying that there was already a prior agreement that the top overall pick should only be traded after playing two seasons with the team that drafted him.
The team official spoke on condition of anonymity, but was obviously referring to Ganuelas-Rosser, who was included in the earth-shaking deal after just one conference playing for Blackwater.
Based on the proposal that was already sent to the Commissioner’s Office, Ganuelas-Rosser and Paul Desiderio will be sent to NLEX in exchange for Oftana and Raul Soyud.
The Bossing will then ship Oftana and Soyud to the Tropang Giga for Troy Rosario and Gab Banal, giving Chot Reyes a chance to coach the former San Beda University star who delivered a strong performance in the previous Philippine Cup.
But the source shot it down, stressing that the league should reject the deal.
“There was a previous agreement that bars the No. 1 pick from getting traded so there’s no reason for the trade to push through,” the source told Daily Tribune.
The trade of the top overall pick had already left a bitter taste in the mouths of team owners and executives.
Five years ago, Kia owns the first-round pick but ended up trading it to powerhouse San Miguel Beer, creating a howl of protest from the other squads who sensed that it would create an imbalance to the league.
The No. 1 pick was used to select Filipino-German banger Christian Standhardinger, a development that rocked the league and led to a deadlock between teams under San Miguel Corporation and Manny V. Pangilinan Group of Companies.
In the end, PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa stepped down while the board of governors appointed Ricky Vargas of TNT as chairman. Willie Marcial succeeded Narvasa and immediately created a five-man body that will review all pending transactions.
Since then, an unwritten agreement was implemented which prohibited the No. 1 pick from getting traded for a period of two seasons from the time he got drafted.
No other No. 1 selection was traded right after the incident.
CJ Perez, the top pick a year after Standhardinger got selected top overall, went on to play two seasons for Columbian Dyip and led the league in scoring for two seasons before getting traded to the Beermen.
His successor at Terrafirma, Roosevelt Adams, who was selected as top pick a year later, was released in the 2021 season as he decided to pursue plans playing overseas.
Another executive shared his thoughts and sees no problem with the trade, except that there was a previous agreement that no top pick should not be traded after two seasons.
“While there’s no written agreement, what we agreed when we met on the heels of the controversial Standhardinger trade is more of a gentlemen’s agreement. It was more serious because we already gave our word of honor,” another executive said.
PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro, however, denied the existence of the agreement.
“We don’t have that policy as of now,” Castro said in a Viber message.
Should the trade push through, TNT will emerge as the biggest winner in the deal by getting Oftana, the second-best scorer for the Road Warriors in the recent Philippine Cup.
The 6-foot-5, former National Collegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player, had improved by leaps and bounds, averaging 17 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game in his second season with the squad.
This would also mean that the Tropang Giga will get the No.3 and No.4 picks previously owned by NLEX.
In last year’s PBA Rookie Draft, TNT didn’t own a pick and won’t select only after the second round but worked on a trade to get the No. 4 pick being held by NLEX, which has two first round picks during that time.
Oftana was selected third overall, but a few days before the draft, TNT was able to work on a trade to secure the No. 4 pick and exercised it by getting Mikey Williams, who shortly after became an immediate top gun of the Tropang Giga and helped the team in winning the Philippine Cup last year.
Williams, a 6-foot-2, former National Basketball Association D-League player, emerged as the league’s scoring champion last season and became the Finals MVP when the Tropang Giga ran roughshod over the Magnolia Hotshots, 4-1.