Trade galore: Fonacier, Ritualo, Villanueva headed to new teams
Deadly shooters Larry Fonacier and Ren-Ren Ritualo and promising guard Jonas Villanueva are now headed to their new teams after separate deals were reached before and during day of the 2010 Rookie Draft.
The 6-foot-3 Fonacier will join a Talk N Text Tropang Texters squad orphaned by its leading scorer the past two seasons -- Mac Mac Cardona, who is now with the newest member in the league, the Meralco Bolts.
Pressed with issues on salary cap, Alaska was forced to unload Fonacier, who was shipped to the Tropang Texters. In return, the Aces got the rights on the No.4 overall pick and immediately named high-flying Elmer Espirtu of the University of the East Warriors as their top rookie pick.
The Aces also worked on a separate trade, this time, with Meralco. They acquired the services of combo guard Bonbon Custodio then gave up their No. 10 pick in the first round to the Bolts.
“It costs us Larry in this season's draft and it will definitely hurt us a lot. He played a pivotal role in the championship series against San Miguel and was really coming into his own, but he became a victim of the salary cap," said Alaska coach Tim Cone, the winningest mentor among active coaches.
“The good side is, he will join a Talk N Text where he can earn more and will be under the guidance of Chot Reyes, who is a good friend of mine. He (Chot) promised me to take care of Larry," added Cone.
But Alaska did not only kept the nucleus of the team intact. It bolstered the roster even more with the addition of Espiritu, a 6-foot-3 forward and former Slam Dunk champion of the UAAP, as well as securing the services of Custodio and Marvin Hayes.
“Other teams are looking at either La Salle or Ateneo, but we wanted players from UE, this season, so we picked Elmer Espiritu and got Bonbon Custodio via a trade. I've been keeping an eye on Espiritu as early as two years ago. As for Bonbon, we hope he can fill up the spot left by Larry."
“One good thing about Bonbon is he is a combo guard. A combo guard is ideal for Triangle Offense. There's something in Marvin Hayes, which can be developed and that's the reason why we took a chance on him."
Ritualo, a 6-foot-1 gunner, will be reunited with his old coach – Bo Perasol – with the Powerade Tigers.
The deal was agreed in principle while all 10 teams were waiting for their turn to hand over their respective picks in the draft.
First, the Express and the Tigers worked on a trade for the rights on the No. 6 overall pick obtained by Powerade.
Powerade chose Josh Vanlandingham, a Fil-Canadian forward, as the sixth pick, but gave up its first-round draft pick for 2012 to Air21. Then, the two teams worked on a deal that shipped Ritualo out of the Express and sent him to the Tigers’ den.
In return, the Express will secure the Tigers’ second-round pick next year.
And then, there’s Villanueva, a talented guard, who blossomed last season, but found himself relegated back as a third-string guard in San Miguel’s congested backcourt unit.
Villanueva is reportedly headed to B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados, but a conduit squad is needed in order for the transfer to push through. The Llamados and the Beermen are sister teams and under league rules, they cannot trade players directly and will need an independent squad to make the trade legal.
A highly-placed source from B-Meg’s camp told GMANews.TV that a conduit squad is the only lacking piece that will make Villanueva an instant addition to Llamados’ squad, whose guard spot needs some retooling.
“As of now, that’s the only (conduit) lacking we have. Jonas’ transfer is being worked out now. We just have to finish the other details," said the source. - Rey Joble, GMANews.TV