Williams eyes PBA return; trade reunites Cardona, Pumaren
MANILA, Philippines -- With former MVP winner Kelly Williams set to return from indefinite leave, Talk 'N Text agreed on a three-way trade deal with Meralco and Air21, giving away former Rookie of the Year awardee Rabeh Al-Hussaini for a pair of big men plus a future second-round draft pick on Monday.
Williams reportedly found a better treatment for his blood disorder problem in the United States, and the 2008 MVP awardee is now looking forward to rejoining the Texters for the next PBA campaign.
The Texters are to pitch camp in the US after the 2013 PBA Rookie Draft. Joining them there are Williams and new acquisitions Noy Baclao and Rob Reyes.
Al-Hussaini moved over to Meralco while Baclao and Mac Cardona are reunited with their former collegiate coaches at Talk 'N Text and Air21, respectively, as a result of the three-way trade deal entered into by the Bolts, the Tropang Texters and the Express.
First, the Express acquired the rights to Al-Hussaini in exchange for Reyes and Air21’s 2015 second-round choice.
Then, the Express acquired the rights to Cardona and Baclao in giving away Al-Hussaini and Nelbert Omolon to Meralco.
The last part of the deal was the Express shipping Baclao and Eric Salamat to the Tropang Texters for Pamboy Raymundo and Bam Gamalinda.
Cardona found himself reunited with his La Salle coach Franz Pumaren at Air21, while Baclao is back under the wings of his Ateneo coach Norman Black at Talk 'N Text
“We are balancing our roster,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio after their second trade transaction in a week following the Gary David deal.
“With no draft picks in 2013, we need a center to match up against the current big men in the league and others who will join the draft,” Gregorio added.
Having acquired David, the Bolts found it easier to let go of Cardona.
“Hard as it is, we had to let go. The nice part is that he will be reunited with his collegiate coach. So I am certain, that it will be a seamless transition for him. I wish him well,” said Gregorio.
And the Bolts look to really become a more balanced team with the team beefing up their frontcourt with the entry of Al-Hussaini.
“Rabeh is diamond in the rough. He will surely add ceiling to our roster. At 6-foot-8, he can definitely match up well against those big guys,” said Gregorio.
Before their acquisition of Al-Hussaini, the Bolts only had Reynel Hugnatan and JayR Reyes to rotate at center spot.
In another development, the MVP Group affected a shakeup in managerial staff of its sports outfits.
Paolo Trillo has been appointed as the new team manager of Talk 'N Text in place of Aboy Castro, who was transferred to Gilas Pilipinas and the MVP Sports Foundation.
Taking over from Trillo as the Ateneo Blue Eagles team manager is Epok Quimpo.
Butch Antonio, who used to handle both Meralco and Gilas, will now concentrate with his task at the Bolts’ camp.