MANILA, Philippines -- Alaska traded Larry Fonacier with a heavy heart on Sunday, sending him to Talk ?N Text after playing a vital role in its title romp over San Miguel Beer in the recent PBA Fiesta Conference.
Salary cap rules prevented the Aces from keeping Fonacier happy in the lineup, leaving the squad no choice but to let go of the hard-working, sharp-shooting swingman.
In exchange, the Aces got Bonbon Custodio and picked former University of the East star Elmer Espiritu from Sunday?s Rookie Draft.
?We feel we filled the holes in our team with Bonbon (Custodio) and Elmer (Espiritu),? coach Tim Cone told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message. ?We hope to make very little noise between now and the opening (day on October 3).?
The 6-foot-2 Fonacier ended up with a squad that has a lot of room in its salary cap after the Tropang Texters dealt away Mac Cardona to Meralco three weeks ago.
Espiritu will be offered a three-year deal by the Aces, who are hoping he could fill Fonacier?s spot and that of the retired Jeffrey Cariaso.
Marvin Cruz, a lefty point guard who was released by Powerade last week, is trying out for a spot at Alaska as chief backup to LA Tenorio, the Aces? biggest star in the recent playoffs.
Cyrus Baguio recently inked a fresh three-year, P12.4-million deal with the Aces, who kept the entire team intact, save for Fonacier.
Meanwhile, Air21 Express stressed on Monday that they would not trade away the Draft?s first two picks in Siverino ?Nonoy? Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini even if the latter felt insulted when management made him the second overall choice.
After the Draft, teams have five days, starting Tuesday, to tender offers to their respective rookie choices, and Air21 is sure to offer the maximum amounts and periods allowed to both Baclao and Al-Hussaini.
Under league rules, a rookie can earn a maximum of P150,000 a month and is entitled to a 25-percent pay increase in each of the next two years.
Al-Hussaini, the consensus No. 1 choice among coaches, was surprised when Air21 picked Ateneo teammate Baclao ahead of him.
?It?s an insult,? Hussaini said Sunday.