Cone admits he'd be happy for Nico Salva if he gets traded out of 'crowded' Ginebra
Nico Salva was still around when Ginebra converged for its first practice since capturing the PBA Governors Cup last season. Karlo Sacamos

NICO Salva is still a Ginebra Gin King - for now.

Supposedly traded to Meralco last week for two future draft picks, the incoming fourth-year forward was present when the Gin Kings returned to practice on Friday at Upper Deck gym.

Gin Kings coach Tim Cone confirmed trade negotiations hit a snag.

“As of this point, Nico’s with us,” Cone said. “It’s no secret there were a few things in place with Meralco and it didn’t work out. Whether that’s dead or not, I’m not sure. That’s been a management-to-management proposal.”

“If we move him, I’d be delighted for him because I know he wants to get out and spread his wings and get playing time,” Cone said. “If we don’t move him, then I’d be delighted for me because I really want to keep him around.”

Acquired from Barako Bull last year, Salvo failed to crack Cone’s regular rotation in his first season with the Gin Kings, averaging just 2.1 points and 1 board in 6.3 minutes in just 16 games.

“Some players take a little longer to learn the system and I remember the first year we had Tony dela Cruz and he couldn’t do anything when he was with us in the triangle, and then after the first year, he became our best guy in terms of execution,” Cone, the former Alaska coach, said.

Cone admitted Salva is left to fight for minutes in a crowded position at Ginebra.

“Nico’s got all the skills and the personality that we like, but we’re deep in his position,” he said. “We got Chris (Ellis), Aljon (Mariano), and now Kevin (Ferrer), so it’s a battle among the four of them.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos