Dioceldo Sy bats for revival of 'protected list,' defends 2015 Blackwater trade with TNT
Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy says a 'protected list' rule is necessary to keep league balance amid the rise of big men like June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, Poy Erram, and Raymond Almazan.

BLACKWATER owner Dioceldo Sy is batting for the revival of the old PBA rule that prohibits the league's best big men from playing on just one team in the wake of the controversial trade that brought June Mar Fajardo and Christian Standhardginer together at San Miguel Beer.

The league enforced a rule in the mid-1980s that put Mon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Manny Victorino, and eventually Yoyoy Villamin in a “protected list” and kept the premier centers from playing together.

Such a rule is needed to assure that the pro league's premier big men are spread evenly among the teams, Sy said.

“I hope to bring back the old PBA ruling of the protect list ... so it would be nice to see like (Poy) Erram playing against Japeth (Aguilar), Japeth playing against (Greg) Slaughter, si Fajardo playing against Christian Standhardinger, 'di ba?” Sy said.

“It will be fair for everybody and it will be good and fantastic for our PBA fans to see all the big men playing against one another,” Sy said. “It's so hard to see Guidaben, Fernandez playing together, there's no contest.

“That's my dream and hope,” he added of the ideal balance in the league.

Some critics blamed Blackwater for paving the way for a twin towers partnership at TNT in 2015 when the Katropa got the No. 1 overall pick from the Elite that turned out to be Mo Tautuaa, before selecting Troy Rosario with the second pick in a separate deal with Kia.

Sy, however, swore they were really focused on building their team – and not make the Texters better - when they got the ninth pick that turned out to be Art dela Cruz and Larry Rodriguez in return.

“This one is a totally different story,” Sy started. “Our trade with Talk 'N Text happened in the first conference. We were new. I was so desperate (to get out) of losing, I was trying to trade with any team, nobody wants to trade with me, so it's not really a trade, it's a swap of our first-round draft picks.”

“So we just talked and they said, 'If you want, we swap our picks plus Larry Rodriguez,' who I requested. It's not their offer; it was my request – I wanted Larry Rodriguez. Talk 'N Text agreed on one condition: you return Larry to us after one year, which I said yes (to).”

“We got Art dela Cruz. And I felt Art was a better pick than Tautuaa, so what's wrong?” he continued. “Mas lugi nga si Talk 'N Text kesa sa amin eh. The bad thing is, we did not maximize Larry, because he got injured also.”

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Sy said there is no point comparing the contentious 2015 trade to the recent controversial deal between Kia and SMB.

“At that time, we don't know where our ranking will be; both Blackwater and Talk 'N Text didn't know where our ranking will be, and at that time, we don't know who the draftees are,” Sy said.

“This time, alam na alam mo na eh, so it's totally different. That's why there's no wild, violent reaction, because it's done fair and square. And normally, when I do trades, it's to strengthen our team than anything else – not to weaken (it). That's our stand. That's why we're improving now.”

Sy believes the Elite's recent trades with teams under the SMC group further dispelled the notion that Blackwater is siding with TNT.

“I'm fortunate that the past two trades are with San Miguel, which never happened (before),” Sy said. “Kasi sometimes, they're saying that we are the MVP farm team. I said, 'I'm sorry, we are not.' Wala kang makitang taga-MVP group sa amin eh. It's just that they're more accommodating to us. We're helping the women's team with the SBP. That's why we have a good relationship. But we are not a farm team of the MVP group.

“We are good friends, not only with the MVP group, but also with San Miguel. Everybody is good eh,” he added. “Kami naman, dito kami sa tama. We felt the (Kia-SMB) trade was irregular, so imagine, three or four bench players for Christian, which is crazy. If they traded (the pick) to us, we'll get him by all means. But we never even thought about it na it will be traded to somebody else.”  

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos