ON Thursday, Star Hotshots and Rain or Shine pulled off one of the biggest trades in PBA history when James Yap and Paul Lee swapped places, a move the league later approved.
The news shocked the whole basketball community in the Philippines, more so since the two were the faces of their respective franchises before the swap.
Trades have been part of the PBA since its inception, and there have been blockbuster deals in the past. The question is, where does the Yap-Lee swap rank among the most shocking trades in PBA history.
Here’s a rundown of the league’s biggest deals.
Mon Fernandez-Abet Guidaben
The PBA’s top two big men during the league’s early years, Fernandez and Guidaben traded places when, in 1985, Beer Hausen moved Fernandez to Tanduay with ‘The Franchise’ still fresh from winning the MVP award a year before.
Incredibly, it won’t be the first time Fernandez and Guidaben traded places, after a benching incident pushed Purefoods to make a deal with San Miguel for Guidaben in 1988, where ‘El Presidente’ won the fourth MVP award of his decorated career.
Marlou Aquino-Jun Limpot
Aquino turned the fortunes of Ginebra around when he was drafted number one overall in 1996. But in 2000, Aquino was sent to Sta. Lucia in exchange of the Realtors’ star big man in Limpot. The trade turned out to be a gem for the Realtors as Aquino helped the team win the Commissioner’s Cup in 2001. Limpot finally won a title in 2006, but for Purefoods.
Asi Taulava-Ali Peek
A direct hire in 1999, Taulava was considered the face of Talk ‘N Text team when ‘The Rock’ was shipped by the Phone Pals in 2007 to Coca-Cola in exchange for Ali Peek and a draft pick that eventually became Jared Dillinger.
Vergel Meneses-Noli Locsin
Being one of the more popular players in Ginebra’s run in the 1990s, it was unthinkable that Locsin would be traded. It happened when ‘The Tank’ was shipped to Pop Cola in the late 1990s in exchange for Meneses, who at that time was the star of the RFM-owned franchise. Locsin would toil around several teams following that trade, while the ‘Aerial Voyager’ had four solid seasons as the Gin Kings go-to guy before ending his career.
Jerry Codinera-Andy Seigle
Codinera formed the vaunted Purefoods one-two combo with Alvin Patrimonio. Their partnership, however, ended in 1999 when Codinera was moved to Mobiline for Seigle, who was the team’s number one pick two years earlier. Despite the trade, the Purefoods franchise retired Codinera’s No. 44 jersey.
Yeng Guiao-Derrick Pumaren
Coaches being traded is unheard off. But it actually happened, sort of, in 1995. The move was purely coincidental, according to Guiao, who had then told his team Swift he was set to leave. When Pepsi management, then owned by the family of Moro Lorenzo, approached him for the coaching job, he said the post was already vacant as former coach Pumaren had already been fired. It just seemed they got traded as Pumaren went on to take Guiao’s previous job at Swift. After guiding Swift to a few crowns, Guiao’s term with Pepsi proved short lived and he eventually became the commissioner of the Philippine Basketball League in the late 1990s before returning to coaching by way of Red Bull.