RAIN or Shine's famed 'Extra Rice Inc.' frontline may soon split up.
A day after news leaked out that Rain or Shine was trading Jervy Cruz, coach Yeng Guiao expressed his willingness to trade Beau Belga as well amid news that two teams are interested in the beefy big man.
Guiao had a long meeting with Belga's agent Danny Espiritu before the start of Rain or Shine's first practice of the off season on Monday morning at the NEGA gym in Greenhills where they discussed the options of a player who blossomed under the veteran coachs wings.
The outspoken Rain or Shine coach said that much as he wants to keep the main man of his famed 'Extra Rice Inc.' frontline, he doesn't want to get in the way of his player seeking greener pastures - so long as the player 'makes an honest indication of his intention.'
"Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, gusto ko nandiyan si Beau. Ang desisyon na lang na 'yan kung lilipat siya o hindi eh nasa kanya na 'yan," said Guiao. "Sa team naman namin, if you want to be traded, just make an honest indication of your intention."
Espiritu did not deny that two teams are now ready to begin negotiations for a possible deal with Rain or Shine for Belga, a former PCU Dolphin who turned into an All-Star after he joined Rain or Shine in 2011.
The outspoken player agent refused to divulge the identities of the teams, but sources told Spin.ph that Barako Bull and the San Miguel Beer are both interested in the 28-year-old former Gilas Pilipinas reserve, who signed a three-year, maximum deal with Rain or Shine in 2013.
"May mga feelers na kay Belga. Dalawang teams, secret na muna," said Espiritu smiling.
"Kung i-o-offer mo sa market 'yan, may mga interesado talaga, although hindi naman natin ino-offer sa market 'yan, hindi naman pina-o-open ng team sa atin. So naghihintay na lang tayo kung sino yung mga team na magsasabi, pinaparating natin sa coach," he added.
They Said It!
“Overrated, overpaid. Better trade him now while he holds value." - mcp_pcm
Guiao, however, made it clear he will only trade Belga if the team gets the players it wants in return.
"Sa akin, wala akong plano na i-trade siya, pero kung mayroong gustong team sa kanya at mayroong magandang offer at gusto niya, pwedeng i-consider," said the fiery mentor.
"I did not bring it up. Kung ako masusunod, ayaw ko siyang i-give up, pero kausap ko si Danny kanina, ang sinasabi niya kung magiging open ako kung merong mga proposals. Sabi ko kailangang makita ko muna kung ano ang proposal," he said.
Guiao started rebuilding his frontline by agreeing to send Cruz to GlobalPort for Jewel Ponferrada and a second-round draft pick, but admitted he is far from done.
"Hindi pa ako kontento (sa frontline ko)," Guiao said.
Belga, meanwhile, was careful with his statements, saying he wants to stay at Rain or Shine but at the same time is willing to look at whatever deal his agent can secure for him.
"Syempre masaya pa ako rito. Masayahing team to eh. There's no other reason to be sad. I am happy," said Belga.
But asked if he is seeking better opportunities, Belga said: "Every player, hinahanap naman 'yung ganung klase ng magandang opportunity. Sa akin naman 'yung opportunity, nakuha ko with Rain or Shine. Nakuha ko with coach Yeng, hindi ko alam kung may mas maganda pang opportunity rito," he said.
Belga did not deny that his agent is also on the lookout for a 'better opportunity and a better place' for him.
"Sinasabi naman niya sa akin na gusto ka ni ganito, gusto ka ni ganyan. And I am happy na mayroong may gusto sa akin aside from Coach Yeng at Rain or Shine," he said.
"Yan naman ang (trabaho) ng agent: to look for an opportunity for a better career, a better place for each and every player na hawak niya, which is 'yun naman ang ginagawa niya," he said.
"But there are some teams na binabanggit niya na gusto ako. Pero hindi mo naman maano 'yan hanggat hindi ako nate-trade, hihintayin ko na lang na si Coach Yeng ang magsabi na mate-trade ako," added the pride of Gubat, Sorsogon.
Aside from Barako, San Miguel, sources said, is also eyeing Belga, who the Beermen plan to use as a steady back-up for overworked center June Mar Fajardo.
View VIDEO of interviews with Guiao, Belga and Espiritu: