CHICAGO - Quietly, on a typically slow news day, the PBA announced the approval of a trade that sent Alex Cabagnot of San Miguel to Terrafirma for Simon Enciso.
No heads up from the league office. No summons for the working media. No Zoom meetings, either.
Nothing but a dull and inadequate five-paragraph notice on the league's official website.
Per my sources, the original proposal, which has been worked out over the past three weeks, included Roosevelt Adams, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 regular draft.
But as shown by the fans' reactions through more than 1,200 comments after we broke that story at SPIN.ph on Thursday, the backlash was swift and derisive.
"Nabulabog," a league source told me.
Even if the Beermen did attempt to get away with the trade equivalent of first-degree murder, you can't fault San Miguel for trying.
Unfairly, Alfrancis Chua gets the flak for merely doing what's best for his team given the resources at his disposal. And while the nomenclature as "sports director" may sound harmless, his task is more purposeful: to win at all cost within the boundaries of rules.
That being said, the fault in all these lopsided, one-sided trades lies in a system that allows them to happen in the first place, inequities which are often ordained by the so-called trade committee before ultimately being blessed by the Commissioner's Office.
I wouldn't go as far as accusing some franchises to be farm teams for others but what I'm seeing a lot in the PBA in recent years is how smaller, poorer teams kneel too much to the rich, surrendering assets in a way that makes a joke out of the parity in league competition.
I can't pretend to know.
AND YOU'LL HAVE MORE LUCK FINDING BIGFOOT THAN UNEARTHING THE GOD HONEST TRUTH ABOUT CERTAIN REALITIES IN THE PBA.
Meanwhile, as Cabagnot joins Arwind Santos out of the SMC complex, San Miguel's legendary "Death Five" has been reduced to a Big 3, a weapon that if re-tooled properly, could reinvent San Miguel's grand slam ways.
"Shock" was used to describe Arwind and Alex's exits. I call it just another business day in the real world.
While the exploits of Santos and Cabagnot deserved to be romanticized for the nine championships they won together as Beermen, it doesn't obscure the fact that their combined age is 78.
In a sport where the young devours the old, it was time for them to go.
San Miguel ain't blind, it clearly saw how awesome bitter rival TNT has become and how young its core is.
If insanity means doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, then San Miguel would have been dumb as a mug of stale beer if it ran with the same crew knowing it hadn't won anything the last three confeences.
It was time to shed some aging, underperforming assets.
But if Chua keeps on clinging to nostalgia he'd only be smiling at reunions, not championship parties.
What happened to Santos and Cabagnot happens all the time.
Success only buys you extended time and extra perks at the workplace. It does not afford you permanent tenure.