AMID rumors that Purefoods is willing to trade youngsters Alex Mallari and Justin Melton for KIA Motors' precious first-round pick in the coming PBA rookie draft, Carnival team manager Eric Pineda has just one answer.
Pineda was quick to point out that no formal offer has been made by Purefoods for KIA's first-round draft pick, which could go anywhere from No. 1 to 2 depending on the expansion team's performance in the season-ending Governors Cup.
“Walang opisyal na alok, pero may feelers. Lahat naman ng teams nagpaparamdam sa amin eh. Pare-parehas naman sila eh. Kaya pakiramdamanan kami,” said Pineda.
“Pero hindi pa naman nila (Purefoods) inaalok. Kumbaga pakiramdam lang muna, kung ibibigay namin 'yung pick namin sa trade (through their offer),” the longtime business manager of Manny Pacquiao added.
Pineda, however, insisted Melton and Mallari will not be enough to convince them to part with the first-round pick in a talent-laden 2015 rookie draft that is expected to have blue-chip prospects like Moala Tautuaa, Bobby Ray Parks, Simon Enciso, Troy Rosario, Garvo Lanete, and Jawhar Purdy.
“Kahon pa sa amin 'yun (Melton-Mallari offer)," Pineda said, using the once-popular game show 'Kwarta o Kahon' to stress his point. "Alam naman natin ang lineup nung players na papasok.”
Pineda insisted that KIA's benchmark in a trade for their first-round pick remains Talk 'N Text star Jayson Castro, who the Kia official recently admitted has been ‘informally’ offered to them early in the year.
And since a Melton and Mallari offer won't cut it, Pineda was asked what he wants.
“Kung sabihin ng Purefoods, James Yap e di ayos na agad ako,” said Pineda. “Willing kami na kunin si James at dito na siya sa amin pag-retire-in, tapos gagawin agad namin siyang assistant coach."
Pineda, however, believes getting Yap from Purefoods is a long shot as the two-time league MVP is the current face of the Purefoods franchise - the second most popular ballclub in the PBA for the past decade.
For podcast of interview with Eric Pineda, click HERE
If it's not Yap, Pineda said KIA will settle for a 'strong' big man and a point guard.
“Siguro isang matibay-tibay na big man at maayos na point guard, okay na kami sa pick namin na ipalit. Kaya depende talaga sa offer 'yan,” Pineda said.
"Pag wala naman kaming nakikita na makaka-solve sa pangangailangan namin… we’ll just keep the pick."
Efforts to reach Purefoods officials for comment have failed at posting time.