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    NLEX wants former D-League players for PBA, but admits it's easier said than done

    Jul 10, 2014
    Among the PBA stars who spent their time in the D-League with the multi-titled NLEX team are Alaska's Calvin Abueva, Meralco's Cliff Hodge, Ginebra's Chris Ellis, and San Mig's ian Sangalang. Jerome Ascano

    NLEX is eyeing to make trades that will allow its former D-League players to join the franchise in the PBA.

    Team consultant Allan Gregorio said trade deals are being considered in order to get the services of former Road Warriors as NLEX tries to build up a competitive roster for its coming PBA debut following its purchase of the Air21 franchise.

    “Our next order of battle is to try to find trades to get the former players who have played for us before in the D-League,” said Gregorio.

    During its PBA D-League stint, NLEX won six championships in seven conferences as it produced a long list of star players now suiting up for different teams in the pro league such as Calvin Abueva, Greg Slaughter, Chris Ellis, Cliff Hodge, Ian Sangalang, and RR Garcia.

    There are also draft hopefuls Garvo Lanete, Kevin Alas, Jake Pascual, and Matt Ganuelas.

    Gregorio, however, admitted engineering such as trade is easier said than done.

    In as much as NLEX management wanted the same model done by Northern Consolidated (NCC) squad when it elevated the core of the national team to the PBA in 1986 that eventually formed the nucleus of the mighty San Miguel franchise, Gregorio said taking the same path will be very difficult to follow.

    “Nasa sentimental na pananaw pa ang NLEX na kumbaga, ‘yung sentiment is parang NCC (Northern Consolidated), parang ganun din na sana makuha natin uli si RR (Garcia), sana makuha natin uli si Calvin (Abueva), si Chris (Ellis), si Cliff Hodge. That’s the most ideal situation for NLEX.

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    “But I don’t think it’s possible,” said Gregorio.

    That leaves NLEX with the realistic goal of just improving the current core of the Air21 team by adding at least one or two former Road Warriors.

    “We might as well see how to improve our present lineup coming from Air21 and try to improve na pa-isa-isa with former Road Warriors. Hopefully, we could get some of them,” said Gregorio.

    NLEX is looking at re-signing recently-named Mythical Five member Asi Taulava shortly upon the expiration of his contract this month.

    Gregorio said NLEX is also keen on retaining the services of big men Aldrech Ramos and Enrico Villanueva.

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    Among the PBA stars who spent their time in the D-League with the multi-titled NLEX team are Alaska's Calvin Abueva, Meralco's Cliff Hodge, Ginebra's Chris Ellis, and San Mig's ian Sangalang. Jerome Ascano
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