A DEAL being worked out between Petron and Barako Bull has become bigger, with the name of Fil-American rookie Alex Mallari thrown into the mix.
In a new twist confirmed by sources from both sides, talks that started on a straight swap between Petron slasher Joseph Yeo and bruiser Ronald Tubid now involve Boosters freshman Mallari and possibly one of the first-round picks Barako Bull holds in next year’s draft.
Mallari, the No. 3 pick in this season’s draft behind teammate June Mar Fajardo and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva, has failed to live up to expectations in the Philippine Cup, riding the bench in most games and failing to make an impression in the few times he got to see action.
But sources said Barako Bull now wants Petron to add Mallari to the trade, hopeful that a big guard seen as a surplus to requirements in the Boosters’ crowded backcourt of Alex Cabagnot, Denok Miranda, Chris Lutz, Marcus Lassiter and Yeo can shine with more exposure.
Barako Bull actually owns three first-round picks for next season’s draft, and it could have been four had it not given away one to Petron’s sister team San Mig Coffee for guard Josh Urbiztondo in the offseason.
The Energy Cola also own four first-round picks in 2014.
The George Chua-owned franchise, sources said, is willing to part with one more first-round pick to have Mallari and Yeo in its backcourt in time for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on February 8.
It is also no surprise that one of the men that made the decision to draft Mallari at No. 3 in this year's draft, former Petron consultant Rajko Toroman, is now calling the shots for the Energy Cola.
The ball is now in Petron’s court, the source added.