THE Meralco Bolts admit they were surprised by the sudden pullout of the San Miguel group from a six-team, multi-player deal on Thursday, but expressed hope another deal would push through that would allow the MVP franchise to finally lay its hands on Kerby Raymundo.
Speaking to Spin.ph, Meralco team consultant Jong Uichico admitted they were expecting Raymundo to arrive from Ginebra and reunite with Ryan Gregorio - his former coach at Purefoods - when negotiations for the deal took place on the sidelines of the PBA board's planning session in Singapore.
“Nagulat din kami, kasi naka-ready na eh," said Uichico, a former coach of the Ginebra and Petron franchise. "Kasama kasi talaga si Kerby sa initial deal."
The eight-time champion coach, however, is not giving hope, aware that San Miguel bosses are thinking of reviving the shelved portions of the multi-team transaction.
“Sa ngayon, waiting lang kami. Kasi yun lang naman ang kulang (dun sa original na deal)," said Uichico. “Basta kami waiting lang sa decision (ng San Miguel)."
League insiders, however, expect the 6-5 Raymundo to eventually land at Meralco since the pieces the Bolts acquired from Globalport in the Sol Mercado deal - Rey Guevarra, Vic Manuel, and Josh Vanlandingham - didn't address the team's most pressing problem: the lack of an inside presence.
As it is, there is a pending deal on the table among Meralco, Air21, and Barako Bull for players Ronjay Buenafe, Noy Baclao, John Wilson, and Jason Ballesteros that can be repackaged to include the likes of Petron's Jay Washington and Ginebra's Raymundo.
Sought for comment, Meralco governor Ramon Segismundo said: “Well, sa ngayon okay na rin kami kasi we will need Ronjay at wala na si Sol… Pero either way, titignan natin.”