LOS ANGELES — Kia finally let go of pioneer player LA Revilla, dealing the disgruntled point guard to Phoenix for a 2018 second-round draft pick and rookie Jayson Grimaldo.
Kia board of governor Bobby Rosales confirmed the trade early Tuesday morning (Wednesday, Manila time) over breakfast at the Sofitel Hotel here.
"We could have made it hard for him if we want to by sitting him out for the entire season. But hindi naman kami ganun. Kabuhayan din naman ito nung bata, so we just let him go," explained Rosales.
"At tsaka mahirap din kung yung player ayaw na ring maglaro sa iyo. So it's better that we just trade him."
The trade papers have yet to be submitted to the league office for the commissioner's approval.
Revilla, a third-round pick of Globalport in the 2013 draft, was the only remaining player from the original KIA roster that made its league debut in the 2014-15 season as one of two expansion franchises along with Blackwater.
The former La Salle stalwart, who hit the winning basket in 2013 UAAP basketball finals, went on to become the face of Kia, assuming the role as the team's go-to-guy and good enough to become a part of the Gilas Pilipinas training pool.
But a single tweet severed his ties with the team that gave him his biggest break in his pro career.
The 27-year-old guard from Bacolod City took to social media to vent his disgust over KIA's controversial move to trade away the rights to Fil-German Christian Standhardinger as the year's No. 1 overall pick in the draft in exchange for Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, Rashawn McCarthy, and a 2019 first round pick.
His actions obviously didn't sit well with management.
"We understand where he is coming from. But he could have just went straight to us and told us everything," said Rosales.
Revilla was later told by management to no longer attend the team's training camp when it opened last week, and soon after, was put by Kia on the trading block.
Rosales said Revilla, who had since apologized for his act, had already been informed by management about the trade.
"Coach Joe (Lipa) already talked to him. He was again very apologetic and grateful to Kia for everything the team had given him. Nagpapasalamat nga raw sa akin," said the KIA executive.
"I think ok na rin yun."
Phoenix coach Louie Alas, in a separate talk with Spin.ph, said he coveted the services of Revilla as he needed one more guard to complete his three-man backcourt rotation.
Revilla is expected to share backcourt chores with RJ Jazul and Gelo Alolino with the Fuel Masters in what could be the beginning of a new chapter in his playing career.