KIA admits getting a lot of tempting trade offers from other PBA teams for its first-round pick in the coming rookie draft, but playing-coach Manny Pacquiao has a ready answer.
“Oo, itatago na lang natin 'yun. Importante 'yun,” said Pacquiao.
The boxing champ may not be attending as much KIA games and practices as he should of late, but he knows well enough what the precious draft pick would amount to if the expansion team keeps it.
“Marami tayong pwedeng makuha run. Si Bobby Ray Parks, Si Moala Tautuaa saka 'yung Troy Rosario. OK 'yun. Maraming magagaling na papasok. Kaya moni-monitor na namin ang mga players na may feelers,” he said.
Pacquiao admitted he has knowledge of ongoing negotiations between KIA team manager and longtime Team Pacquiao business adviser Eric Pineda and the other PBA ballclubs wishing to get the pick.
Under current projections, KIA's first-round pick will land at No. 2 overall behind Blackwater, giving the team the chance to grab the cream of the crop in what is expected to be a deep and talent-laden rookie pool.
But unlike Blackwater which has already swapped first-round picks with Talk 'N Text in a previous trade, KIA intends to make the most of the draft opportunity.
“We will not part ways with our (2015 first-round) pick not unless we receive the kind of offer we want,” said Pineda. “Right now, almost all teams have laid down their offers. But we haven’t decided yet."
Asked if the other teams have already offered the moon and the stars, Pineda laughed.
“Oo, may iba nagto-todo na ng offer. Pero para sa amin, hindi pa rin 'yun sapat para pakawalan yung pick. Bata at future superstar ang pwedeng makuha run (sa draft pick namin) eh,” he said.
“May mga nag offer nga na pili raw kami ng players sa team nila, pwera lang 'yung ilang pangalan na protected nila. Pero wala pa rin kami napipili,” he added.
The coming 2015 PBA draft is set on August 23 at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.