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PBA: Kia eyeing package of quality players

Kia is open to the idea of trading the second overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft if the Carnival receive an offer they cannot refuse.

Team manager Eric Pineda said the Carnival are leaning towards dealing the pick in exchange for a package of quality players along with a future pick.

“We’re reviewing all options, whether we’ll use the pick, or if there is any trade offer,” Pineda told the Bulletin a day after the Carnival came close to advancing to their first-ever playoff appearance.

The Carnival received the second pick in the draft after finishing with the second-worst record this season at 10-23.

Blackwater, which went 4-29 in its maiden pro season, was supposed to select first but had traded the rights to Talk ‘N Text for the now inactive Larry Rodriguez, a move that was heavily-criticized by fans and observers.

But not even the prospect of having the chance to select top amateur standouts has failed to convince Kia management.

“We would probably look for a trade. We want players that we feel have the potential to be good players and fit into our system. It really sounds good the prospect drafting someone like a Troy Rosario or a Moala Tautuaa, who are both very good players,” Pineda said.

“But one player cannot make a champion team, it should be a collective effort. I would rather get two or three players with potentials of being good, with a package of future second round pick. We’re not even eyeing a franchise or superstar player.”

Kia fell short in its bid to make the Governors’ Cup playoffs despite finishing the elimination round with an 88-85 victory over Meralco last Smart Araneta Coliseum after failing to reach the needed winning margin of 17 points.

That allowed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to seize the final playoff spot when it scored a thrilling 110-107 victory over NLEX in the second game on Japeth Aguilar three-pointer in the final second.

Kia went 1-10 in the Philippine Cup highlighted by a season-opening 80-66 victory over Blackwater in Manny Pacquiao’s debut as playing coach last October at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. The then-Sorento finished that conference by losing their next 10 games.

The team then went 4-7 in the Commissioner’s Cup behind 7-foot-4 giant PJ Ramos before going 5-6 in the Governors’ Cup behind Hamady N’Diaye and Taiwanese import Jet Chang.

The season also saw the rise of guard LA Revilla as well as the improvements Karl Dehesa, Hyram Bagatsing and JR Buensuceso.

“For an expansion team, I think we did pretty well on our first season with the quality of players that we have. We don’t have any franchise player and superstar. What we have are players who were not drafted, journeymen and some are practice players from other teams,” said Pineda.

“But they brought the level of performance to something that we can be proud of. We did a lot of hard work, and the most important thing is listening to the coaches,” said Pineda.