AIR21 is determined to beat Barangay Ginebra to the draw in the race to land Asi Taulava, offering former top rookie pick overall Noy Baclao to Meralco in exchange for the rights to the evergreen slotman.
“Ang tanong, gusto ba nila (Meralco) yun? Kung gusto nila, game kami,” said the source from Air21, who bared that team governor Lito Alvarez has been waiting for a response from Meralco.
Three weeks ago, Spin.ph broke the story about a deal Air21 forwarded to Meralco, offering to ship James Sena, John Wilson, and Noy Baclao to the Bolts for Carlo Sharma, Rey Guevarra, and Vic Manuel.
Meralco has yet to respond to the offer, the team insider said.
“May pending trade negotiation pa kami with them, kaso hindi naming alam kung gusto pa nila o hindi na,” said the Air21 official who declined to be named. “'Yan pa rin ang nasa table. We’re waiting for them.”
If Meralco is interested, the official said Air21 is willing to integrate Taulava into the package.
“Sabi ko nga, kung gusto nilang i-consolidate yung kay Asi sa deal na 'yan, we can have exploratory talks,” he said.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio has expressed willingness to trade the rights to Taulava, who declined a three-year deal from the Bolts at the start of the season to sign with ABL side San Miguel Beer.
However, Gregorio made it clear they won't part with the 40-year-old slotman for a song.
Ginebra officials have expressed interest in acquiring the rights to Taulava but so far, they have yet to come up with an offer than could interest the Bolts.
Over the weekend, SMC sports director Noli Eala took to Twitter to quash rumors that Ginebra is willing to part with rookie sensation Chris Ellis and Josh Urbiztondo in a trade for Taulava and rookie Cliff Hodge. (For full story, click Ginebra won't trade 'building block' Ellis to get Asi Taulava, insists Eala)