HE may be among the least known players in a celebrated Talk ‘N Text roster. But big man Larry Rodriguez also happens to be the most controversial.
The soft-spoken Rodriguez found himself mostly as the subject of mockery the past season after bouncing around like a ping-pong ball from one team to another following a series of trades involving him.
Now with Talk ‘N Text, Rodriguez is hopeful he’ll finally settle down with the team this coming 41st season of the PBA.
“Siyempre looking forward ako na makalaro na this season. Ang tagal ko ring napahinga,” said the 32-year-old forward out of PMI Colleges who suited up for all of the Tropang Texters’ three games in the MVP Cup that ended Sunday.
Rodriguez’s predicament began last year when he was acquired by Blackwater in a three-team trade that also involved sister teams Talk ‘N Text and NLEX.
The Elite got Rodriguez in the trade including the Tropang Texters’ first round pick in 2015 in exchange for the expansion franchise’s 2015 first round pick (which turned out to be Moala Tautuaa).
Before the trade, the native of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur was curiously left out by the Elite during the expansion draft between them and fellow newcomer KIA Motors (now Mahindra).
But Rodriguez saw limited action for Blackwater after suffering a knee injury that kept him out for the entire 40th season.
Then during the offseason, the former Rain or Shine stalwart found himself going back to the Tropang Texters when he was made part of the Jimmy Alapag trade that also involved sister team Meralco.
He averaged 3.8 and 5.4 rebounds last season.
Although frustration mounted, Rodriguez said he simply just accepted everything that happened as part of a professional players’ life.
“Ganun naman ang buhay ng player. Hindi mo alam kung saan ka mapupunta,” said Rodriguez, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2008 Rookie Draft (Barako Bull), who’ll later win a championship with the Elasto Painters.
He still has a year left in his contract, which he hopes would be enough to prove his worth again.
“Gusto ko lang naman talaga ang makalaro,” he stressed.