Despite the PBA’s decision to approve the talked-about trade between Kia and San Miguel Beer involving the top pick in the coming rookie draft, some basketball analysts remain baffled over what has transpired.
Being the lowest-ranked team in the recently concluded PBA season, Kia had the option to choose Christian Standhardinger, the consensus top overall pick in this year's draft.
But Kia gave up those rights in exchange for San Miguel’s Rashawn McCarthy, Jay-R Reyes, Ronald Tubid and the Beermen's 2019 first-round pick.
The PBA rookie draft will be held at Robinson's Place Manila Sunday at 4 p.m.
“You're a weak (team) and you're given the top choice to get the best players so aangat ka. Then you'll trade your best player, what is your rationale behind that?” said Webb, a former professional player and Olympian.
The 6-foot-7 Standhardinger could prove to be a game changer because of his height, skills and experience overseas.
“Who doesn't want a Christian on his team? Tell me. Walang mayroong ganyang team na hindi nangangailangan ng gitna (center) . . . Anyone who can get Christian will be a stronger team, even Kia,” said Webb.
Boyet Sison, who hosts several sports shows on ABS-CBN, pointed out that Kia did the same thing during the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft. The team, then known as Mahindra, decided to trade away Troy Rosario to TNT in a 3-team deal that included NLEX.
“Kung ikaw ay bagong koponan sa PBA ang No. 1 pick is one tool to build a good and competitive franchise. Now why have you done it two seasons in a row? Two drafts in a row? Did you give up the pick on your first year to give you an advantage? No, it did not,” he said.
Prior to PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa’s decision to approve the trade, basketball analyst and frequent FIBA.com contributor Enzo Flojo also doubted that Kia’s chances of climbing from dead last would improve.
“Even if Kia does pull the trigger on the trade and the PBA approves it, I don't think the chances will improve that Kia will be a contender,” he said on the sports program "Gametime" Friday.
“I don't think they're gonna get stronger this coming season. It's just a very, very dumbfounding move, if ever they push through with it.”
He added that the league should be wary of such lopsided trades since it could hurt the PBA’s reputation.
“The image and perception in a way is just as important as the product that is the PBA. The perception of a lot of people is that the parity skewed toward a handful of teams then that's really never going to be good for the PBA itself for the image and the perception of people,” he said.
Sison shares the same sentiment, saying the PBA should take steps to maintain balance in the league, lest they will lose more fans in the end.
“You really have to strike balance. If there’s no balanace lalo na sa mga Pilipinong marunong sa basketball, mahirap nang paikutin ang utak ng mga tao. You can’t do that anymore. ‘Di na nauuto ang tao,” he said.
“Hindi naman pwedeng araw araw Ginebra ang maglalaro. Hindi pwedeng araw araw, bawat game Manila Clasico. Hindi pwedeng araw araw Talk ‘N Text-San Miguel. Kailangan maging pantay pantay ang lakas ng mga koponan or else unti-unting makikita natin ang pag-diminish ng PBA.”
Webb said that even without Standhardinger, the Beermen are already a formidable team.
"It's a strong team, period. Now it will become a stronger team. anyone who can get Christian will be a stronger team," he said.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)