SOFT-spoken in person, Barangay Ginebra rookie Scottie Thompson was vocal enough in saying he is looking forward to playing alongside close pal Jio Jalalon in the PBA.
In a post on his Facebook account whose followers have grown to almost 62,000 as of Saturday, Thompson talked about the thrill to play alongside the Gilas cadet - one of 12 rookies included in the special draft involving players of the national team to be held on Sunday at the Robinsons Midtown in Ermita, Manila.
“Excited ako maging teammate si idol Jiovani Jalalon,” said Thompson of his old college rival and personal friend from Arellano. “Pangarap ko lang si idol.”
The post only served to fan talks about a trade supposed to have been made by Ginebra and Star during the league board meeting held Thursday, where the selection of Gilas players was made based on a 'pre-determined order' agreed upon by representatives of each team.
Sources disclosed to SPIN.ph that Ginebra tabbed wingman Kevin Ferrer from the Gilas pool during the marathon five-hour meeting, while Jalaon ended up falling on the lap of Star, a team whose lineup is mostly made up of backcourt players.
But what triggered hopes of Jalalon going to Ginebra in exchange for Ferrer was the reported lifting of the non-trade clause among Gilas draftees for the next two years that was previously agreed upon by the board - and even announced during halftime of Game Six of the Governors Cup finals in a mini-press conference.
Sources added the no-trade clause was lifted by the board, even in cases involving sister ballclubs such as Ginebra and Star. The league has long prohibited trades among sister ballclubs to ensure parity among competing teams.
So did a trade really transpire?
Officials of both Star and Ginebra were one in denying there was any that took place.
“No such trade,” said Hotshots board of governor Rene Pardo in a short text message sent on Saturday afternoon.
He also stressed the two-year non-trade clause approved by the board under outgoing chairman Robert Non remains in effect.
Ginebra counterpart Alfrancis Chua took to social media in a bid to nip rumors about the trade in the bud.
“Mali yung naglabas. Ferrer tayo mga ka barangay!,” said Chua, also the sports director of the SMC Group, in a post on his official Twitter account @alfrancischua.
Despite the denials, talks still persisted about such move taking place, with a person close to Jalalon telling him 'sa Kings ka na,' just hours after the special draft was through.
Perhaps for now, Thompson’s dream backcourt alliance with Jalalon will have to wait.
But with the way things had been going in the league this past season, who knows the wait might not be in vain.