Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan set for reunion with Yeng Guiao at NLEX as blockbuster trade in the works
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao looks to bring former wards Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan in helping turn things around for the Road Warriors. Jaime Campos

[Editor's note: PBA has approved the trade that sent Larry Fonacier and JR Quinahan to NLEX, Semerad to TNT, Lanete to Meralco, and Guinto, Grey, and Anthony to GlobalPort. For full story, see BLOCKBUSTER TRADE]

THE trade for Alex Mallari is just the tip of the iceberg for NLEX.

The Road Warriors are set to engage in yet another major deal that involves multiple players and includes teams such as Globalport, TnT Katropa, and Meralco.

Multiple sources around the PBA disclosed the trade is a bit complicated and has yet to be finalized, but in the end should see veterans JR Quinahan and Larry Fonacier being reunited with coach Yeng Guiao at NLEX.

“Yes, madaming kasama na players at maraming ikot,” a source privy to the trade told “Hindi pa natin alam, baka mamaya may biglang magbago pa, although si JR and Fonacier are among those prominently being mentioned.”

But no doubt, landing Fonacier and Quinahan should augur well for an NLEX side that has been on the losing side so far this season despite the arrival of a champion coach in Guiao prior to the start of its campaign for the year.

Still winless in seven games in the Commissioner’s Cup, the Road Warriors began making their move on Wednesday when they triggered a deal that had the team acquiring the 6-foot-4 Mallari and Kenneth Ighalo from Mahindra in exchange for Glenn Khobuntin, Eric Camson, and a 2020 second round pick.

[See NLEX acquires Alex Mallari in trade with Mahindra]

Now, they are setting their sights on adding Quinahan and Fonacier to their arsenal.

Both players suited up for Guiao in the past and were major pieces in him delivering championships for Red Bull (Fonacier)  and Rain or Shine (Quinahan).

The two saw action Friday night in what would turn out to be their final game for their respective teams.

“I heard sinabihan na si Larry about the trade after the game,” another source said, referring to the Texters’ game against San Miguel, which they won, 112-103.

Incidentally, Fonacier played a major role in dealing the Beermen their first loss in the conference, finishing with 14 points, including two dagger treys in the stretch that stopped a major San Miguel endgame rally.

Quinahan meanwhile, went 2-of-9 from the field for four points in an 84-72 loss by the Batang Pier to Phoenix.

Trading the 34-year-old Fonacier meant ending his seven-year stay with the franchise where he played a key role in winning five championships from 2010 to 2015.


“Nakakagulat but he’s a pro,” a team insider said, adding Fonacier will have the consolation of again playing for the same coach, who gambled on him by taking the top gunner from Ateneo with Red Bull’s second round pick (14th overall) in the 2005 rookie draft.

Quinahan has long been rumored of being on his way to NLEX prior to the start of the season when Guiao assumed the coaching job of the Road Warriors.  Although the big Cebuano center was signed by the Batang Pier for two years, many believed his stint with Globalport was just a short stop, before eventually ending up at NLEX.

Other players being eyed as part of the blockbuster trade include Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto, Anthony Semerad, among others.

“Magulo pa yung ikutan, but I think Semerad would be heading to TnT,” said one other source.

TnT and Globalport had been involved in separate trades for the past few weeks.

The Texters recently dealt Matt Ganuelas-Rosser to San Miguel for RR Garcia, while the Batang Pier sent KG Canaleta to Blackwater in exchange for Dylan Ababou and James Forrester.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos