RICO Maierhofer was not surprised at all upon learning of the report about him being involved in a possible trade between Barangay Ginebra and Air21.
“Wala naman akong magagawa kung mate-trade ako. Tagal ko na rin nadidinig yan,” he admitted.
Spin.ph reported on Wednesday the 27-year-old big man is being eyed by the Express in a proposed two-step trade that also include veteran Asi Taulava and former top draft pick Noy Baclao.
As it is, Maierhofer said he’ll just take the trade in a positive light if and when it pushes through.
“Basta tinitignan ko na lang na kung saan ako mapunta, `yun ang ginusto para sa akin ng Diyos,” said Maierhofer, who accompanied wife Jeck to the hospital as she’s scheduled to give birth on Thursday.
The trade report came just as Maierhofer is busy keeping himself physically fit for the season-ending PBA Governors Cup set August 14.
Along with Ginebra teammates Kerby Raymundo, Japeth Aguilar, and Jayjay Helterbrand, the former De La Salle stalwart has been religiously undergoing plyometric sessions under famed trainer John Aquino at the Treston School at The Fort.
“Siyempre, kailangang maging handa. Hindi pwedeng mag-aabang na lang ng pagkakataon. Kailangan may ginagawa ka rin para sa sarili mo,” he said of his plyometric and regular gym sessions.
His regular visits to the gym has kept the Ginebra big man fit during the off-season and helped keep his mind away from the trade rumor.
“Malakas naman `yung feeling ko na hindi ako ma-te-trade. Dahil lagi nilang sinasabi na they (Ginebra) won’t trade me,” he said.
“Hindi ko na muna iniisip `yun, magugulo lang utak ko. Mas pinag-tutuunan ko muna ng pansin `yung sarili kong training. Saka eto `yung misis ko malapit nang manganak,” Maierhofer said as he expressed his excitement over the arrival of his baby boy, Calel.
His wife has also been supportive of her husband amidst the rumors of a possible new team for him in the coming conference.
“Sabi ko naman sa kanya, kung malipat ka sa Air 21, isipin mo na lang yung case nina Mike (Cortez) at KG (Canaleta). Ang ganda ng status nila ngayon sa playing time di ba?” Mrs. Maierhofer related to Spin.ph.
Since joining Ginebra, Maierhofer admittedly struggled to get playing time in a roster filled with big men like Raymundo, veterans Rudy Hatfield and Willy Wilson, and now the 6-foot-9 Aguilar.
During the Commissioner’s Cup alone, the lanky center just logged in an average of 6.36 minutes, contributing 2 points and 2.14 rebounds – numbers that are way behind his season average of 22.43 minutes when he was still with B-Meg in 2010.
“Niloloko ko pa nga siya eh. Sabi ko: ‘Malay mo ikaw na lang hinihintay dun (Air21), mag-cha-champion na ang Air 21.' Natawa siya eh,” Jeck added.
Mrs. Maierhofer, however, admits having developed a close relationship with some Ginebra players and supporters, including Helterbrand’s partner RR Enriquez, who happens to be her best friend.
“Andami naming close friend sa Ginebra, lalo na `yung Ginebra girls,” she said. “Pero okay na rin, kasi ninong din namin sa kasal si coach Franz (Pumaren) at (wife) Miss Odette.”
But while he’s willing to move on and accept the reality of being traded, Maierhofer is actually looking forward to accomplishing one major goal while still with Ginebra.
“Ngayon pa lang ako magiging 100 percent healthy talaga. Kaya gusto ko pang maipakita ang kakayahan ko suot ang Ginebra jersey,” he said.
“Gusto ko rin mag-champion kasama ang Ginebra,” added the big man, who has won a championship in every major league he played in such as the UAAP (La Salle), PBL (Harbour Centre), and PBA (B-Meg).
“Ginebra na lang kulang ko. Sana hindi ako mabigo sa misyon ko na yun.”