SHORTLY after getting wind of a report that he is on the trading block, the first thing Barangay Ginebra back-up guard Josh Urbiztondo did was call team manager Alfrancis Chua.
Expressing his profound wish to stay with Ginebra, Urbiztondo said he felt so relieved to hear from the Ginebra team manager that there are no efforts to trade him.
“I was a little bit surprised about it (the story),” the 30-year-old streak shooter told Spin.ph. “Yeah, we talked. And then he told me that it’s not true."
They Said It!
“I want to stay with Ginebra. I came to love the team, the players, the coaches and management. Our chemistry is great." - Barangay Ginebra point guard Josh Urbiztondo
“Yeah, I take their word for it. I believe in management. They tell me that,” he said.
The Fresno, California-raised dribbler likewise questioned the motive of the report which he said came out even though the trade was not yet a hundred percent sure.
“I was just confused why you would write something like an article where millions of people can see … if it’s not gonna be true. I am just confused on that,” said Urbiztondo.
Spin.ph on Thursday reported that a trade is in the works for the Fil-Am guard's move to Air21 to give him the opportunity to shine elsewhere - a report Ginebra officials were quick to deny.
“It’s 100% not true. There’s not even a discussion about any trade,” said San Miguel Corp. head of basketball operations Robert Non in a text message.
Still, Spin.ph sources insist there had been talks about a trade.
There have been several instances in the past when reports on deals by SMC teams have been denied by officials, beginning with the move to replace Olsen Racela with Gee Abanilla as Petron coach.
Before that, Racela was in fact assured that there were no moves to replace him.
However, there have also been incidents where deals being cooked up by San Miguel were either delayed or dropped altogether when details were prematurely leaked to the media.
Ginebra's Kerby Raymundo was eventually sent to Meralco last season in a trade for Jay-R Reyes.
But in the end, a couple of these moves were only delayed but eventually consummated, as with the deal that sent Joseph Yeo from Petron to Air21 - the same team which now wants Urbiztondo.
Urbiztondo himself has been part of the merry go round, having seen his playing rights traded by San Mig to Barako Bull before ending up with Ginebra in a trade sealed late last season.
But in this case, Urbiztondo is hopeful the trade talks are not true.
“I want to stay with Ginebra. I came to love the team, the players, the coaches and management. Our chemistry is great. We’re like a family not only on the court, but off the court. We’re at one,” he said.
“Why would anyone want to leave that right?” he added.
This season, the six-foot guard has seen himself competing in a loaded Ginebra backcourt that already has LA Tenorio, Eman Monfort, and Jayjay Helterbrand, but he insists playing time in not an issue for him.
The most important thing is winning, he added.
“It’s not only about playing. For me as player, the most important thing is winning. I can sacrifice for the win. I can be the cheerleader, I will be the biggest supporter. And if the coach decides to play me … I’ll be ready,” said the undrafted four-year pro.
“Winning is the most important thing for me. I am a team-first guy. Whether I play one minute or five minutes I am gonna leave it out there and try to help our team win.”