RICO Maierhofer has every reason to be happy these days.
After being linked to a trade away from Barangay Ginebra and enduring the difficult birth of his son, the 27-year-old slotman is looking forward to a better days ahead in a Gin Kings jersey.
Maierhofer shared to Spin.ph a conversation he had with Ginebra coach Alfrancis Chua wherein the fiery mentor assured him that the league's most popular ballclub has no plan to trade him.
“Kinausap ako ni coach. Yun nga, hindi daw ako ma-te-trade, kaya happy ako ngayon,” Maierhofer said.
Spin.ph has reported that Maierhofer is a target of Air21, which hopes to get Asi Taulava in a trade with Meralco and then deal the Fil-foreign player to Ginebra for the former De La Salle Green Archer.
With Chua's assurance, Maierhofer said he can focus on getting into the best of shape and helping Ginebra's championship run in the season-ending Governors Cup.
“Sobrang saya ko kasi gusto ko dito eh. Sino ba naman ang may gusto na may trade di ba? Pwera na lang kung may issue ka sa teammates mo,” said the 2010 Rookie of the Year awardee.
The second pick overall of the 2009 rookie draft has won titles with La Salle (UAAP), Harbour Centre (PBL) and B-Meg Llamados (PBA) and longs to celebrate one with Ginebra's fans.
“Saka ngayon lang ako nagiging 100 percent kaya gusto ko ring maipakita sa mga fans ng Ginebra yung kakayahan ko,” he said. “Naramdaman ko yung pagmamahal ng fans dito sa akin … yun ang gusto kong suklian.”
The former Green Archers star has been rigorously undergoing hard gym and plyometrics training the past two months, ahead of Ginebra’s return to practice Monday.
“Talagang tutulong na ako this time, ngayon lang ako talaga magiging healthy, ngayon ko pa lang makukuha yung dating lakas ng legs ko,” said Maierhofer, who suffered an ACL injury last year.
Meanwhile, Maierhofer heaved a sigh of relief over the safe delivery of his son Calel last Friday after a long labor by wife, Jeck. The baby was born by Caesarian section with an umbilical cord wrapped around him.