During their trading spree last week, the NLEX Road Warriors had their eyes on Cyrus Baguio and Jericho Cruz, two former players of coach Yeng Guiao.
But the trade that would have brought the two guards to NLEX didn’t materialize.
“Siguro ititigil na muna namin. Short of saying na hindi na tuloy itong deal,” Guiao told InterAksyon.com.
The rebuilding NLEX acquired Larry Fonacier, JR Quinahan and Alex Mallari in separate trades last week. In return, the team had to give up five players: Sean Anthony, Garvo Lanete, Bradwyn Guinto, Glenn Khobuntin and Eric Camson.
But Guiao said NLEX will not stop exploring trade options.
“We will not give up in pursuing deals. We’ve lost five players, so basically what we want to get now is one or two, although it may not be as blockbuster as the other transactions we had the previous days,” he said.
Guiao is happy with what NLEX got.
Fonacier was a rookie for Red Bull where he played under Guiao. They won a championship together in the 2005-06 season, winning the Fiesta Conference.
And after 11 years, the two will be reunited.
“It’s something you don’t plan to happen. But I still believe that Larry is a great shooter and could open up the lane for our big guys not to mention the fact that he is a leader,” Guiao said.
“Larry is a leader you can see it in practice. He’s not the usual vocal leader, but whenever he speaks, you can sense the weight in everything he says which was created in the years of experience in winning championships.”
Quinahan also played for Guiao at Rain or Shine where they clinched two championships. The 6-foot-6 versatile big man had been on NLEX’s radar before the start of the season but he ended up being shipped to GlobalPort.
“Nung nasa Rain or Shine pa siya, hindi namin siya magalaw out of respect kina Boss Raymond (Yu) and Boss Terry (Que). When GlobalPort acquired him, we made a pitch in trying to get him, but it didn’t materialize in the early stages of the discussion. We continued to pursue it, until we have finally reached an agreement with GlobalPort,” Guiao said.
“Like Larry, I believe JR will also become a leader to our young big men. We have added a player who can play inside and out.”
As for Mallari, Guiao believes that the lefty guard can provide versatility that the squad lacked in the past. The seven-time PBA champion coach even likened his style of play to Gabe Norwood.
“He is a guy capable of playing 1, 2 and 3 positions and just like Gabe, Alex is a two-way player. I think he can make an impact in our team,” Guiao said.