YENG Guiao was quietly going about his business on Wednesday, not knowing that he has become the meat of conversations on social media after his former team NLEX figured in a blockbuster trade with sister team TNT and Blackwater.
"Ganun ba?" the veteran coach chuckled when told about it by SPIN.ph, just after NLEX let go of prized youngster Calvin Oftana and Raoul Soyud in the three-way trade that saw Troy Rosario and Gab Banal move to Blackwater and former No. 1 draft pick Brandon Ganuelas Rosser and Paul Desiderio join the Road Warriors.
[READ: Oftana to TNT, Rosario to Blackwater, Rosser to NLEX in three-team trade]
Oftana, easily the most prized asset of the Road Warriors after Kiefer Ravena left for the Japan B.League, ended up at NLEX's sister team TNT, just days after the team - the third PBA franchise of the MVP group - offered Guiao a corporate position instead of the head-coaching job.
Guiao ended up declining the offer. He returned to old team Rain or Shine days later.
For most fans lingering on social media, the trade bolstered conspiracy theories floating around online amid the baffling decision of the NLEX camp to let go of a proven winner like Guiao with no clear succession plan at hand.
Was the plan to bring Oftana to TNT hatched before Guiao was let go?
Guiao said he has drawn his own conclusions, but declined to voice them out, insisting "that not for me to say."
However, the seven-time PBA champion coach made it clear that he had no prior knowledge of the plan to trade Oftana and Soyud, saying he only learned about the blockbuster trade in online media outlets just like everyone else.
"I had no prior knowledge of that deal," he insisted.
Oftana's move meant TNT has now acquired NLEX's top two assets from the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft.
Oftana was taken at No. 3 by the Road Warriors after their No. 4 pick was acquired by the Tropang GIGA in a trade that, ironically, also involved Blackwater as the third team. That draft selection was used by TNT to pick Fil-Am star Mikey Williams.
Guiao made it known that he didn't approve of the trade; he also made his resentment known after TNT acquired big man Poy Erram from NLEX in a trade that, not surprisingly, also involved Blackwater as the conduit team.
Did he end up in management's bad side because of that? Guiao was asked.
"If you're a coach, you fight for your team. You want to give your team the best chance of winning," he said without directly answering the question. "But in the end, you can only do so much."