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    Eerie silence has PBA teams bracing for surprises as trade deadline approaches

    Jan 16, 2014
    GlobalPort owner Mikee Romero, center, and Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, left, have ruled out trades prior to the trade deadline while Air21 coach Franz Pumaren is still on the lookout for a true point guard. Jerome Ascano

    DESPITE trade rumors swirling inthe PBA the past few days, there’s a deafening silence among the 10 teams in the PLDT myDSL-Philippine Cup with the trade deadline fast approaching.

    League operations chief Rickie Santos told it has been a tradition for some teams to submit trade proposals a few minutes before the set deadline. The trade deadline for the season-opening conference is set at 12 noon on Monday.

    “Madalas ganun `yung ibang teams eh. Nang-gugulat. Madalas sakto pa sa deadline pag nag-pasa ng proposal,” said the amiable PBA official. “Pero 'yung dati, maingay na 'yung mga trade negotiations. Ang pinagtataka ko ngayon, tahimik eh.” contacted several teams particularly those at the bottom of the standings to find out if surprises are on the way before the deadline.

    Air21 admitted being ready to entertain trade deals considering the franchise’s disappointing showing in the All-Filipino conference, the Bert Lina-owned franchise making no effort to hide its desire to have a veteran point guard to put together a talented core consisting of Joseph Yeo, Mark Cardona, JG Canaleta, and Asi Taulava.  

    “Point guard pa rin talaga ang kulang namin, pero sa ngayon waiting lang kami,” said Air21 governor Lito Alvarez, while pointing out how coach Franz Pumaren once bared to mediamen his excitement over the arrival of an important franchise piece, which eventually was frozen.

    “Naghihintay pa nga ako ng magandang offers from other teams. So far ngayon wala pa,” added Alvarez.

    Alaska board representative Dickie Bachmann has already shot down trade rumors surrounding prolific sophomore Calvin Abueva and likewise denied any negotiations currently on his table.

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    “No ongoing trade talks. Team is focused on Sunday’s game against Barako Bull,” said Bachmann.

    Meralco team manager Butch Antonio admitted there’s no immediate need for the team to trade as the Bolts are still groping for chemistry owing to injuries and arrival of new players during the offseason.

    “Wala naman kaming napapag-usapan. Actually, we just have to hurdle a little bump ahead of us,” said Antonio.

    GlobalPort team owner Mikee Romero stressed the franchise at this point is not yet planning to tweak its lineup as a quarterfinals berth is still very much in sight.

    But the flamboyant sports patron bared he will assess his lineup again at the end of the season-opening conference.

    “Wala pa muna kaming trade. But after this conference, we will evaluate the performances and contributions of our players. They still have time (to play catch up),” said Romero.

    Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos likewise said the Energy are not entertaining any trade talks as the team is playing well.

    “Wala na muna kaming trade. The boys are playing well, hopefully we get out groove and rhythm in time. Sayang nga kasi `yung ibang losses namin, puro breaks of the game lang,” said Ramos.

    “But those experiences are what makes me optimistic that our players will be tougher at the crucial juncture of the conference,” added the underrated coach.

    On the other hand, sources said Talk 'N Text is still in search for a big man. But Talk `N Text team manager Paolo Trillo insisted there are no proposals currently on the table.

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    “Wala kaming dini-discuss, wala akong alam. Basically, pag may pina-plano ang coaches, malalaman ko naman `yun. Sa ngayon talaga, wala,” said Trillo.

    Rain or Shine board of governor Atty. Mamerto Mondragon said he is putting his name on the line that there will no longer be any movement for the team.

    “Wala na kaming trade, itaga mo na sa bato. Wala na. Ang ganda ng pinapakita namin eh. Ang nasa isip lang namin, makuha yung Top 2 (spot),” said Mondragon.

    Meanwhile, the three teams under the banner of San Miguel Corporation are mum on what to expect from them before the Monday trade deadline.

    Petron, San Mig, and Ginebra have been tagged in different trade rumors swirling around the league of late.

    Sources say team owner Ramon S. Ang met with coaches, players, and team officials of all three teams last Tuesday to celebrate his birthday.

    Of the three teams, Petron appears to be in need for another reliable big man to revitalize the team’s frontcourt as main man June Mar Fajardo is still groping for form after coming back from an injury.

    PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial however, said everything is not yet final until the trade deadline has elapsed.

    “Wala pa kaming natatanggap sa ngayon, pero kami naman, antay antay lang,” said Marcial.

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    GlobalPort owner Mikee Romero, center, and Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, left, have ruled out trades prior to the trade deadline while Air21 coach Franz Pumaren is still on the lookout for a true point guard. Jerome Ascano
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