IF he would have his way, Air21 board of governor and team manager Lito Alvarez likes to have veteran gunner Ronjay Buenafe back with the Express for the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Alvarez bared the team is open for a possible trade with Meralco to re-acquire Buenafe, who played for two seasons as an Express following a trade with Coca-Cola.
“Masaya naman kami sa tinatakbo ng team. Lalo na at wala pa si KG (Canaleta) and Mike Cortez, pero nakapanalo kami,” Alvarez said during a chat with Spin.ph following Air21’s thrilling 94-93 win over Buenafe and the Bolts in a tune-up game on Tuesday afternoon.
“But I think maganda pa rin talaga na palakasin namin yung two-guard namin, so kung maibibigay si Ronjay, open kami for trade.”
The Air21 executive said the team is willing to give up its 2014 first-round draft pick and possibly another player for Buenafe, knowing that the former Emilio Aguinaldo College star can be an additional scoring threat for the Express.
“Dati naman amin iyan si Ronjay eh,” added Alvarez.
Air21 later on shipped the 29-year-old Buenafe to Rain or Shine, where he won his first PBA title during last year’s Governors Cup, before winding up with Meralco following another trade prior to the start of the league’s 38th season.
In 16 games with the Bolts during the Philippine Cup, the sweet-shooting 6-foot-2 guard saw his numbers rise, averaging 10.6 points and 2.3 rebounds on 37 percent shooting clip from beyond the arc in 25.1 minutes of play.
Meantime, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio refused to confirm or deny if all the trade talks swirling around the team, saying only that the quest to improve the Bolts’ roster remains a “continuing process.”
“I will only lose my engagement with my players by naming names. It’s just too premature to say something about that (trade),” was Gregorio’s short reply to Spin.ph.