DON'T look now, but a trade between Meralco and Air21 which was inexplicably shelved last month is set to be finally consummated next week.
Under the terms of the original three-team deal, Meralco was supposed to get Jason Ballesteros from Barako Bull in exchange for a second-round pick then package the rarely used big man with forward Ronjay Buenafe in a deal with Air21 where the Bolts will get Nonoy Baclao and shooter John Wilson in return.
Now sources said Meralco and Air21 are talking again, this time on a much simpler deal where Buenafe will swap places with Wilson. Two big men, one from each camp, are also set to be swapped.
“Wingman plus big man ang palitan nito ngayon,” said an insider from the teams involved.
The same source said Meralco is looking at Express big men Rob Reyes, James Cena or Noy Baclao, while Air 21 is keeping an eye on Carlo Sharma or Gilbert Bulawan.
Sources said the talks were initiated even before Meralco's dramatic 90-89 win over Globalport on Sunday. And if things go according to plan, the deal could be wrapped up as early as next week, after Air 21’s back-to-back games against Rain or Shine and Petron.
That's not all. The trades, if they push through, may just trigger another round of deals that will involve a lot more teams, sources said.
A source from the Meralco camp revealed the Bolts are really bent on acquiring Air21 hotshot KG Canaleta. But Express team governor Lito Alvarez is said to be very firm in keeping his prized high-flyer from Tarlac.
“Ilang beses na naming hinihingi kaso ayaw ibigay,” said a source privy to the negotiations.