KIA’s 'unconventional' style of play may not be suited for Nico Salva, Jason Ballesteros, and Nico Elorde as the trio have found themselves out of the Picanto’s lineup for the new PBA season.
SPIN.ph learned from sources that Salva is headed for Meralco as an unrestricted free agent and so do Ballesteros and Elorde, who are both being considered by Globalport.
Salva suiting up for the Bolts would definitely be a big boost to a team that is coming off a strong runner-up finish to Barangay Ginebra in the last Governors Cup.
The 27-year-old Salva will be reunited at Meralco with former college coach Norman Black, with whom he won five UAAP men’s basketball championship at Ateneo.
As early as last season, the young forward had already been on the radar of the Bolts who attempted to get him from Barangay Ginebra via a trade.
But the Kings shipped him instead to Mahindra (now KIA Picanto) for a future second-round pick. He signed a one-year deal with the team and became a regular fixture in deputy coach Chris Gavina’s rotation.
Meanwhile, the departure of the 6-foot-7 Ballesteros meant one less big man for the team which created a stir over its decision to trade the chance to grab Christian Standhardinger with the No. draft pick to San Miguel for three role players and a future first-round pick.
The Picanto are now left with Jay-R Reyes – one of three active players the franchise acquired from the Standhardinger trade – Prince Caperal, and Gilas player Russel Escoto to man the paint for the team in the season-opening Philippine Cup.
Also not renewed by the team aside from the three are Jason Deutchmann and Josan Nimes.
The team, sources said, is also not keen on signing any of the rookies its picked in the recent draft, namely Chris de Chavez, Arvie Bringas, and Christian Geronimo.