THE aborted deal that would have reunited Kerby Raymundo with coach Ryan Gregorio at Meralco has left the Bolts frontline with a gaping hole that's still waiting to be filled, team officials admit.
Meralco, Barangay Ginebra, Global Port and Talk 'N Text were supposed to seal a deal that would also involve Japeth Aguilar, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and a score of other marquee players and would see Raymundo landing in the lap of his former coach at Purefoods.
But when the San Miguel organization pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute, Meralco ended up swinging another transaction that saw them part with star Sol Mercado and Kelly Nabong and absorb Vic Manuel, Josh Vanlandingham and Rey Guevarra from the Batang Pier.
The end result was a bunch of players heavy in some positions and lacking in a legitimate scoring threat inside other than import Eric Dawson.
Team consultant Jong Uichico admits having Raymundo could have given the team a different dimension on offense.
“Makakatulong sana si Kerby. We have sana an offensive threat sa lineup namin,” said Uichico.
Meralco's current lineup has struggled in the PBA Commissioner's Cup with three straight losses after opening with a win against sister team Talk 'N Text.
Uichico said the team is open to renegotiate the trade for Raymundo as well as another shelved deal that would have sent Ronjay Buenafe and a future draft pick for Air21 Express’ John Wilson and Noy Baclao. But he insisted there are no pending trades for the team at the moment.
"Sa ngayon talaga status quo na muna kami ... If ever mag-activate kami ng trade mode, siguro unang mare-revive yung mga previous na napag-usapan na," said Uichico. "But it will be from them, not from us."
The eight-time champion coach also denied knowledge of a rumored trade that was supposed to see Chris Ross, Jay-R Reyes, and Buenafe going to Ginebra for Robert Labagala and Rico Maierhofer.
“Wala akong alam na ganun ... Hindi na-i-discuss sa akin yun,” he said.
A source from San Miguel also ruled out any trade pending for any of the three teams under its umbrella.
“Malabo yun. Walang balak ang Ginebra na bitawan si Rico," said the source.