OFFICIALS of Kia Carnival (now Mahindra Enforcers) asserted the precious No. 2 second overall pick remains very much with the franchise with three days to go before the PBA draft.
Consensus top picks Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario are both with MVP-backed Gilas Pilipinas in Estonia for a four-team pocket tournament, the thought is not lost on Kia team manager Eric Pineda.
“Yeah, napansin ko rin 'yun (dinala yung dalawa ng Gilas). Pero it remains to be seen (the MVP group's hold on the two players). Kasi nasa amin pa naman yung pick eh,” said Pineda.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Pero okay lang naman sa amin 'yun, kasi para sa bansa 'yun eh,” added the longtime Team Pacquiao official.
Spin.ph sources, however, said the trade where Kia will hand over the No. 2 pick to Talk `N Text for Kevin Alas and a future second-round pick, with the young Alas moving over to NLEX for another Gilas big man in Aldrech Ramos, is already in the bag.
But Pineda said the deal is still pending, and the team has not yet dealt its pick.
“Nasa amin pa rin 'yun (pick). Pero pagdating ng linggo n'yan (at hindi pa kami nagkasundo) kukunin ko si Troy Rosario. Kukunin na muna namin si Troy,” he said.
Pineda disclosed the team’s other plans should Talk ‘N Text not give in to its demands in exchange for the pick.
“Pinag-aaralan namin ng mabuti what is best for us, one step for the team. If Troy is the best for us, itatago namin si Troy,” he said.
“Pwede ring magbago isip namin. Pwedeng hindi si Troy ang kunin namin, maganda rin ang ipinakita ni Norbert Torres. Big man na malakas ang kailangan namin eh,” he added.
Asked why the MVP group seems confident of already owning the first two picks in the draft, Pineda had a ready answer.
“Wala pa 'yun. Pwedeng magbago pa ang isip namin,” he insisted. “Nasa amin pa yung pick. Buong buo at hinog na hinog na.”
Pineda also hinted the deal with Talk ‘N Text and NLEX are the only thing left on the table as Rain or Shine already pulled out of the negotiations.
“Hindi na namin tinuloy kasi pumasok si Ranidel (de Ocampo sa offer). Kaya sabi ko sa kanila (Rain or Shine), 'Boss, syempre iba na ang offer sa amin kay Ranidel. Kung noon pa tayo nagkasundo kay (Raymond) Almazan, matagal na tayong tapos,” he said of his negotiations with Rain or Shine.
The outspoken Kia team manager also bared negotiations for De Ocampo, which Talk n Text is reportedly offering to get Kia's 2016 first round draft pick, is starting to get dim.
“Hindi ko na alam eh. Hindi ko na maintindihan,” said Pineda who confirmed Talk `N Text had a slight change of heart following the injury suffered by Fil-Am forward Kelly Williams, who plays the same role as De Ocampo.
“Mas maganda sana kung matuloy rin 'yun. Kasi pag may Ranidel na kami, tiyak ang agad na paglakas namin,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources from the MVP camp bared the team is close to consummating the deal, with an option that will let Kia draft Rosario first before it begins another round of trade negotiations.