IT was shortly before 12 noon on Wednesday, and an ecstatic Dennis Miranda was scouring his closet for old San Miguel Beer practice jerseys he might have kept.
After being informed about his return to the SMB camp in a straight swap for Sol Mercado, the Barako Bull guard couldn't seem to contain his excitement about the thought of reuniting with longtime partner and Far Eastern University teammate Arwind Santos.
“Excited nga rin ako, kasi matagal rin kami magkakampi ni Arwind, sa FEU pa. Tapos kami na lang 'yung dalawang natitirang member nung 2011 champion team ng Petron,” Miranda told Spin.ph.
Asked if he is the one guard who can really squeeze out the best in Santos, Miranda responded with a laugh.
“Pwede sigurong ganun. Kasi matagal na talaga kaming magkakilala ni Arwind eh. Kabisado ko si Arwind, Ang tagal naming nagsama. Alam ko galaw niya. Halos alam ko nasa isip niya sa court,” he said.
“Nararamdaman ko 'yun, pati kung may problema, o iniinda siya. Alam ko agad. Kaya nalalapitan ko agad siya at nakakausap na, ‘Brad, okay ka lang ba?’ mga ganun ba,” Miranda added of Santos, who was also his teammate at Viva Mineral Water in the PBL.
The two were also teammates in the Petron team that last won a PBA championship in 2011, in the process spoiling Chot Reyes and Talk 'N Text's quest for a grand slam.
Miranda, however, refused to say if his departure from San Miguel last year after he was traded to Barako Bull had something to do with the dip in the averages of Santos, who came under fire from critics for his below-par games just after winning the MVP plum in 2013.
“(Laughing) Ewan ko kung dahil nawala ako. Hindi naman siguro dahil nawala ako. Hindi naman siguro. Pero in fairness, maganda naman nilalaro ni Arwind ngayon. Pero sa trade ko na ito, sana mas makatulong pa ko,” Miranda said while reading a story at pba.ph confirming his transfer to San Miguel Beer.
“Last year nag-struggle siya eh. Pero kung magkakasama kami, mas mapipiga ko siguro siya. Kasi sabi ko nga, kabisado ko laro niya eh,” said the pride of Lopez, Quezon.
But even before the conversation with Spin.ph could end, Miranda received a call from an official of Barako Bull.
He sounded gloomy when he returned to the line.
“Pre, mukhang di tuloy ang trade ah. Pinag-rereport ulit ako sa Barako ngayon. Kailangan kong tumakbo sa practice,” he said before hanging up to catch the Energy's 1 p.m. practice. “Late na ko. Alas dose na.”
A source told Spin.ph that although Commissioner Chito Salud had already approved the transfer of Miranda to San Miguel for Mercado, the trade was nipped in the bud at the last minute when a second wave of transaction involving the two teams was thumbed down by the league chief.
Instead of reworking the Barako Bull deal, San Miguel turned to GlobalPort and got another former Beermen guard, Alex Cabagnot, in exchange for Mercado and future second-round draft picks.
“Ten minutes before 12, pinull-out yung trade proposal,” said the source who gave Spin.ph a more detailed information of the development.
“Matagal nang kinukuha ng San Miguel si Alex (Cabagnot) sa GlobalPort, di ba? Naisulat niyo pa 'yun. Kaso ayaw ibigay ni (team owner) Mikee (Romero),” said the source as he referred to an old Spin.ph story.
“Kaso natalo yung GlobalPort kagabi sa Meralco. Biglang pumayag na 'yung GlobalPort sa trade, kaya inihabol ng last minute kanina. Yung sa Miranda trade, okay na 'yun eh. Kaso nga, pumasok sa eksena yung isa,” he added.
The same team insider revealed that San Miguel Beer went to Plan B after Salud shot down San Miguel and Barako’s second trade deal which would have had twin brothers David and Anthony Semerad switching places and Dorian Pena moving back to the Beermen.
San Miguel management, the source added, was really deadbent on re-acquiring Cabagnot, who like Miranda, was part of the franchise’s last championship in 2011 Governors’ Cup but traded in February amid rumors of a feud with longtime SMB star Santos.
No wonder fans are now worried on how Cabagnot's return could impact on the top-seeded Beermen ahead of the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs.
Here's a podcast of interview with Miranda: