Taulava to Air21 to Ginebra?
With both parties not backing down on their respective positions, albeit informal, the rumoured trade between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco Bolts involving Asi Taulava attracted another dealer – Air21.
According to several news articles, Air21 is determined to get the services of the aging slotman by offering former top rookie pick overall Noy Baclao to Meralco. However, there are persistent talks that claim this is just a cover for the real motive of the Express. The real plan was supposedly to ship the evergreen giant to the Barangay Ginebra in a deal that will make it appear that Air21 is made better off.
Everyone knows that Air21 owner Bert Lina of the Lina Group of Companies (LGC) maintains a close relationship with San Miguel Corporation (SMC) bosses. Both companies were involved in one questionable deal in the past like the Mark Barroca, Magi Sison and Mark Cagoco for Brian Ilad and Elmer Espiritu of the B-Meg Llamados in 2011. However, with no real proof of collusion, the PBA cannot do a thing.
The Meralco Bolts, on the other hand, can still hold out a bit longer and try to dig deeper into this story. A few weeks ago, another deal was supposed to happen between the Express and the Bolts. This deal came from Air21 and it proposes to ship James Sena, John Wilson, and Baclao to the Bolts for Carlo Sharma, Rey Guevarra, and Vic Manuel.
Meralco management were mum and has not yet responded to any queries on this. They could have adopted the same stance with regards to the deal that Air21 stressed repeatedly, publicly and incessantly in several tabloid articles.
"May pending trade negotiation pa kami with them, kaso hindi naming alam kung gusto pa nila o hindi na," said the source from Air21 official who declined to be named. "'Yan pa rin ang nasa table. We're waiting for them."
"Ang tanong, gusto ba nila (Meralco) yun? Kung gusto nila, game kami," said the source who also bared that team governor Lito Alvarez has been waiting for a response from Meralco.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio has expressed willingness to trade the rights to Taulava, who declined a three-year deal from the Bolts at the start of the season to sign with ABL side San Miguel Beer. However, Gregorio made it clear they won't part with the 40-year-old center for a song. And trading him to Air21, which in turn, can offer it to Ginebra on a silver platter, with all the garnishes, is definitely one bitter song to swallow.
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