PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa may be trying the first big case in his court within the next few days should Kia Carnival decide to trade its rights to the No. 2 pick in the 2015 Rookie Draft on Aug. 23 at Robinson’s Place in Ermita.
Blackwater earlier announced it has traded its rights to the No. 1 draft pick, which could turn out to be 6-foot-7 Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa, for reedy forward Larry Rodriguez and TNT’s first round pick, an agreement consummated and approved before Narvasa came aboard.
Narvasa, who has vowed to “put order in the court” in an apparent nod to his late father, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, has already made his first appointment, naming league operations chief Rickie Santos as his deputy commissioner during the Board of Governors planning session in Tokyo a few days ago, and is headed to his first official function – the rookie draft.
But Kia giving up the No. 2 pick, which most likely will be 6-foot-7 former National University center Troy Rosario, could be an acid test that will set Narvasa up for his first big decision.
Already there are indications Narvasa, a former PBA coach, won’t allow a lopsided deal to get by him so easily.
“Di naman puwedeng ganon-ganon lang. Maaaring di talagang parehas, pero huwag naman masyadong obvious,” said Narvasa, who instructed Santos to send him all pertinent documents should the trade proposal push through.
“Right now, wala pa namang mga papeles sa ‘min,” said Santos Thursday night at the NAIA Terminal 2 upon the PBA delegation’s approval.
The battle for the rights to the Bulldog big fella is expected to be fierce.
Asked whether he has already seen Rosario play, Narvasa said, “Oo napanood ko na; magaling!”
Stories have broken out in the newspapers and the social media that Rosario, who helped the NU Bulldogs win the UAAP championship last year and more than held his own as a member of Manila North with Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel and Karl Dehesa during the FIBA 3×3 Manila Masters Tour, that Kia (Mahindra Enforcers next season) may be inclined to give up the second pick for a more seasoned power forward or center.
The names of Ranidel de Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text and Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine have both been mentioned as possible trade baits, but Kia playing-coach Manny Pacquiao isn’t taking a bite just yet.
An ROS insider said the Kia people initially found the Rosario-Almazan exchange acceptable.
“Tapos biglang ayaw na nila so malamang me iba ng naka-usap,” the source said.
A Kia deal for the No. 1 pick, if it happens, would go through deep scrutiny.
“Before we make any decision, I want to see all the papers in front of me, the facts, agreements. And I want to see the lineups, end results for both,” Narvasa said.
“We’re reviewing all options,” Kia team manager Eric Pineda told the Manila Bulletin, expressing preference for a 2-for-1 trade instead of a direct 1-on-1 deal.
“One player cannot make a champion team, it should be a collective effort. I would rather get two or three players with potential of being good, with a package of future second round pick. We’re not even eyeing a franchise or superstar player,” said Pineda.
It’s unsure whether Kia has changed its mind and agreed to a 1-on-1 swap or decided to keep its No. 2 pick to snare Rosario.
But whichever, should a trade proposal ever come up, Commissioner Narvasa will be waiting, weighing all options before bringing down the gavel.