RR Garcia says fellow FEU alumni Barroca, Abarrientos will help him feel at home at Star camp
RR Garcia's agent, Ed Ponceja, says the player was sent to sign a three-year extension with Phoenix, only to see the deal put on hold in the days leading to the big trade on Wednesday. Jaime Campos

AS always, the players are the last to know.

RR Garcia admitted he was taken aback by news that he was the major piece in a three-team, eight-player trade consummated on Wednesday that saw him move from Phoenix to Star.

The 26-year-old combo guard said he’s yet been notified by either Phoenix or Star management about the trade despite the news spreading like wild fire on social media and sports websites in the middle of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals between Rain or Shine and Alaska.

“Nagulat ako, hindi ko rin expected,” he said about the transaction that had him and Phoenix teammate Rodney Brondial going to the Hotshots for rookies Norbert Torres and Mark Cruz, along with veteran guard Jonathan Uyloan.

The Hotshots first acquired Uyloan and forward Keith Jensen from Globalport in a separate trade which saw the Batang Pier get big man Yousef Taha and Ronald Pascual in return.

[See Star acquires Garcia, Jensen, Brondial after flurry of trade activity]

Whatever, Garcia, a former UAAP MVP out of Far Eastern University, hopes he’ll be able to contribute to the Hotshots’ cause following the team’s two successive early playoff exits in the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup.

“Ready naman ako sa ganyang mga trades. Ang sa akin lang, sana makatulong ako sa Star."

At the Hotshots camp, he’ll be reunited with FEU backcourt partner Mark Barroca and Tamaraws deputy Johnny Abarrientos.

“Mga nakasama ko sa FEU yan kaya malaking tulong sila sa akin sa Star,” said the 5-foot-11 guard.

For sure, Garcia said he’ll be missing his teammates at Phoenix, a team where he really blossomed into the player expected of him as the sixth overall pick (Globalport) in the 2013 draft.

“Ang laking bagay nito sa akin kasi dito ko nailabas ang laro ko,” he said of his almost two-year stint with the Fuel Masters.

Garcia was actually set to sign a three-year contract extension for Phoenix, according to his representative Ed Ponceja, but decided to defer it until he returned from Zamboanga following the national elections.

When he finally arrived in Manila on Tuesday, Garcia was notified the contract signing has been put on hold for unknown reasons.

Ponceja could only hope they’ll be able to strike with Star the same deal they were able to muster from Phoenix.

“Siyempre hindi pa namin alam ang plano ng Star, so we’ll see,” he said.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos