There were, indeed, no trades that happened on the floor on PBA Draft Day last Sunday, especially among players tapped from the Gilas Pilipinas Cadet pool.
But that was the calm before the storm, so to speak, with all those players, save for consensus No. 1 Mac Belo, being labeled fair games.
The Inquirer learned of this from reliable sources last night as last week’s marathon five-hour meeting among team representatives that the league tried to pass up as being harmonious was very much otherwise.
What was also believed that the Cadet players would be staying with the PBA teams that selected them on that day will not happen—except for Belo.
The former Far Eastern University ace will be staying put with the Elite in an agreement with the board, added one of the sources.
At least two team representatives were not happy with the way the board meeting turned out. One of them even said it was “the most disappointing board meeting I was ever into.”
“They will happen,” the second source, who also spoke on condition that he not be identified, told the Inquirer, referring to would-be trades.
The source was referring to trades among those picked from No. 2 to 12 in the special draft as he reiterated that a “drafting order was followed,” contrary to an official league statement.
The meeting was held to discuss how the teams would be able to tap the services of the players belonging to the Cadet pool, which the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas would utilize for qualifying tournaments for the World Cup in 2019.
Months before, members of the board and the Commissioner’s Office had tried to come up with a “win-win” formula to be able to entice these players in making themselves available for the Draft.
Otherwise, the PBA would have seen its leanest pool of talent since the institution of the proceedings.
In fact, the SBP had already entered into contracts with 10 of the 12 players selected from the Cadet pool.
Only Ed Daquioag, the former University of Santo Tomas gunner, and Carl Cruz, also from FEU, have yet to ink deals as the basketball body is dead set on keeping them to be able to tap them at any time for international tournaments.
Daquioag and Cruz were late additions to the pool so that the league would have 12 players which it can distribute to each of its teams before Draft Day.