PBA: TerraFirma boss defends 'legitimate' CJ Perez trade

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 31 2021 04:50 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2021 06:49 PM

PBA: TerraFirma boss defends 'legitimate' CJ Perez trade 1
CJ Perez in action against San Miguel during the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- The team governor of TerraFirma Dyip on Saturday appealed for understanding as the franchise continues to come under fire for its proposed trade of All-Star guard CJ Perez.

Perez, whom TerraFirma picked first in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, was the centerpiece of a trade that will see him head to powerhouse San Miguel Beer.

In return, TerraFirma will receive Gelo Alolino, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Russel Escoto and the Beermen's No. 8 pick in the upcoming Rookie Draft.

PBA fans have been vocal about their displeasure regarding the proposed trade. For many, what TerraFirma will get in return for Perez is far from enough, considering what the young guard has shown in his first two years in the league. 

The 27-year-old Perez has led the PBA in scoring in his first two seasons, while also emerging as the 2019 Rookie of the Year. He also made the First Mythical Team and the All-Defensive Team after his rookie campaign.

In an appearance on "The Chasedown" on Saturday, TerraFirma team governor Bobby Rosales explained the thought process behind the trade. The executive said the Dyip needed to acquire "missing pieces" in order to start contending in the PBA, something that was made clear after their one-win campaign in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.

"If we really want to get something of value, you have to give up something of value also," said Rosales.

He made it clear that Perez did not ask for a trade. Rosales also admitted that other teams sent "feelers" about Perez, but "nothing transpired." Even the package from San Miguel reportedly went through adjustments before both sides agreed on the deal.

For Rosales, the passionate response to the proposed trade is a good thing -- an indication, he says, of the love that Filipino fans have for basketball and for the PBA. But he also requests that their decision be respected, and their process be understood.

"Many will not agree but we respect their opinion. Ang pakiusap lang naman namin, ang appeal lang namin sa mga tao, sa lahat, it is a very, it is a legitimate trade, 'di ba?" he said.

"'Wag na lang sanang lagyan ng kulay or ng slant or anggulo 'yung istorya. 'Yun lang naman ang hinihiling namin sa karamihan," he added.

Fans and pundits have not been shy about questioning TerraFirma's motives in the trade, especially as the franchise has already engaged in a controversial deal with San Miguel before. They memorably sent the No. 1 pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft to San Miguel Beer, which turned out to be Fil-German big man Christian Standhardinger.

Rosales insists the CJ Perez trade was done with the franchise's best interest in mind, however. They are acquiring three rotation players and will now have two picks in the first round of the upcoming draft, which is being pegged as one of the deepest in recent years.

"There will be a process," he said of the trade, which has yet to be approved by the Office of the Commissioner. "So let the process work."

"We've tried our very best to explain why we arrived at that decision. You may not agree, they may not agree, that is healthy. Kontra kayo, sa amin, that's positive sa amin," he added. "Can you imagine kung napaka-tahimik ng mga tao, walang (reaction)... hindi mabubuhay ang basketball."

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