PHILIPPINE Basketball Association fans are very aware of a rule that prohibits ballclubs owned by a single company to enter into a direct trade.
San Miguel Corporation and PLDT are the only companies that operate more than one team in the league.
And while these two conglomerates adhere to that specific rule, it cannot be avoided that each of their teams would need a player or two to from its sister team.
A conduit, meantime, usually comes in not just to serve as channel for two sister teams but to also to benefit from it.
Such was the case when NLEX acquired forward Sean Anthony from Meralco through the Mahindra Enforcers.
As we all know, NLEX and Meralco are owned by telecommunications tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan under his PLDT umbrella.
Initially, the Bolts released Anthony to the Enforcers for their 2016 and 2017 second-round picks. That trade gives Meralco a chance to add young talents to their squad in the next two years.
Mahindra then shipped Anthony to NLEX for seldom-used Juneric Baloria together with the Road Warriors’ 2016 and 2017 second-round picks.
In essence, Mahindra was able to recover their future picks which they initially sent to Meralco apart from adding a talent many believe has what it takes to compete in the league.
NLEX, meanwhile, gained a player which they feel will be the answer to a void that they have to fill to improve on their performance once they enter their sophomore season.
“We saw something in Sean which we can maximize because our coaches have been scouting his performance in the past,” said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre.
NLEX, Meralco and Mahindra just did the PBA a favor when it comes to showing its fans how to enter a deal that shows parity.
FOCUSING ON DEFENSE. More than one Most Valuable Player award, several Finals MVP honor and multiple PBA championships.
Gaining those trophies would make one player feel complete and eventually take it easy and just think about extending his career and in the process collect more financial rewards.
But not Big Game James Yap.
While people would think he has done and won it all, Yap says there are still more achievements out there that he can aspire for and would make him feel motivated in the seasons to come.
“Ako kasi kumbaga, nag-champion na ako, nanalo na ng MVP, ako ‘yung isang player na hindi nagre-relax. Sabihin mo na magsasawa? Hindi mangyayari ‘yun,” said Yap. “Mapabilang sa all-defensive team. ‘Yun na lang ‘yung hindi ko nakukuha. Kasi iniisip ko ‘yung MVP, Finals MVP parang bonus na lang ‘yun.”
While Yap admits he’s been used to being the main man on offense and a recipient of several screens for him to be able to get good looks at the basket, he still feels incomplete for as long as people won’t talk about his defensive prowess.
“Tingin ko sa defensive award ‘pag nakuha mo ‘yun, pakiramdam mo talaga na nakakatulong ka sa team,” said Yap.
Yap added that by being conscious about it, it will make him continue to work hard and make sure to always keep himself in shape.
“Sa depensa kasi kailangan kundisyon ka kasi habol ka ng habol sa tao mo. ‘Yung ball screen, ‘yun ang mahirap, paano mo maiiwasan ‘yung screen tapos nandu’n ka pa din sa tao mo,” said Yap.
Yap’s former mentor, the venerable two-time grand slam coach Tim Cone believes his one-time ward’s unique demeanor is what’s making him stand out from the rest of the league’s top players.
“The calmness of James Yap. We used to talk about it before a game. We had a lot of guys really pumped up, jumping around, everybody was so intensed, and James was just in the corner, relaxed,” said Cone “I told the coaching staff that’s why he is big game James. Nothing fazes him he just comes out, plays calmly and is able to withstand the big moments.”