Tenorio a King and Miller joins Batang Pier in four-team deal

THE biggest trade of the offseason involving LA Tenorio and JV Casio was finally cleared on Friday, but it took four teams, two draft picks and two more players in Rico Villanueva and former PBA MVP Willie Miller to get it done.

The complicated deal, which was first reported by Spin.ph on Thursday, was approved by the PBA Commissioner's Office on Friday afternoon. Commissioner Chito Salud said the trades are “balanced and even.”

It kicked off with Barako Bull trading Miller to Ginebra San Miguel for big man Enrico Villanueva. Miller, who once suited up for the Kings, was then shipped to Global Port along with the team’s 2014 first-round pick to acquire the highly-touted Casio, the top pick in last year’s rookie draft.

The Kings later sent Casio and their 2015 second-round pick to Alaska to finally land Tenorio, who’s been the subject of multiple trade rumors since returning as hero from the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament where he steered Smart Gilas-Pilipinas 2.0 to the championship.

A separate deal that saw Petron send veteran swingman Dondon Hontiveros to Alaska for Wesley Gonzales and Hans Thielle was also approved by Salud.

“They (trades) will result in a more competitive league in terms of lineup strengths and potentials. As always, fundamental in my evaluation of trades is the parity among the parties involved,” the commissioner said. “This is a clear mandate on my part if I am to continue to uphold the fans’ interest.”

Tenorio thanked the Alaska fans through his twitter account @LA_Tenorio, telling how much he loved them and the franchise that gave him the break in his pro career.

“Sa lahat ng bumubuo ng Alaska Family maraming maraming Salamat sa Pagmamahal at walang sawang suporta na bingay nyo sa akin... ...MAHAL na MAHAL ko kayo lahat!!!,” said the MVP of this year’s Jones Cup meet.

Alaska general manager Joaqui Trillo, in a statement, clarified that the trade of Tenorio has nothing to do with his insistence to play for the national team.

“We have been approached by many teams for LA and they have all been denied because we felt LA was an integral part of our team,” said Trillo.

“However, looking forward, we also see the promise of JV and feel he can bring a lot to Alaska. So we are taking a leap of faith, but a calculated one.”

Global Port team owner Mikee Romero is definitely happy with the acquisition, so far the boldest move done by the new franchise since trading away Fil-Am swingman Sean Anthony to B-Meg for the No. 9 pick in the recent rookie draft.

“We will rebuild the team in two years,” said Romero, whose combination of Miller and Gary David makes the Batang Pier deadly in the backcourt.

Hontiveros, re-acquired by the Boosters last season from Barako Bull but who saw limited playing time due to injury, also took to Twitter on his account @dhonts7 to apologize to Petron fans for failing to help the team win a championship.

“Sorry Petron, didn’t get to really be of help last year,hoping it would be this year but things happen for a reason. Hello, Hello Alaska Aces,” said Hontiveros on Twitter.

Trillo said Hontiveros’ leadership will be a good addition to a young team such as the Aces.

“Although approaching the twilight of his career, we believe Dondon still has a great game and will open things up for us with his great shooting and occasional penetration. Plus, he is a good defender and has strong leadership skills,” said the Alaska official.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos