PBA rookies Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter have their first practice with the NLEX Road Warriors on Monday, Dec. 17, even amidst the plan of the team to trade them to Blackwater for John Paul ‘Poy’ Erram.
The management of the Road Warriors confirmed the said trade deal in a statement posted in their social media accounts.
According to the Road Warriors, they have been in talks with the Elite regarding a trade for Erram as far back as the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
NLEX explained that head coach Joseller ‘Yeng’ Guiao, who coached the national men’s basketball team during the Asian Games, was impressed with Erram during his stint with the national team in the said multi-sports event.
“Going into the draft, our goal was to select the best talent possible,” the Road Warriors said in their statement on Sunday, Dec. 16
“At the same time, both teams reached an understanding this morning that a trade involving Poy for our first round draft picks would be a mutually beneficial move for the teams and the players themselves,” the Road Warriors added.
The Road Warriors also stressed that the trade does not reflect on the talent and potential of Desiderio, who was the No. 4 overall pick during the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday, and Tratter, the No. 7 overall pick.
The team added that they will be happy to have both Desiderio and Tratter if the PBA will disapprove the trade deal.
The Road Warriors also revealed that they have informed Desiderio and Tratter of the possible trade during a dinner with Guiao, team management, and NLEX Corporation executives.
“If the trade does not happen, we would have two great players to join us,” Guiao was quoted saying during the dinner.
“And if it does push through, then we will battle each other. But either way, we are happy for you because you are assured of having a team in the PBA,” Guiao added.
Meanwhile, the Road Warriors also posted statements from Desiderio and Tratter on Monday.
Desiderio said that he does not have a problem with said trade, and that he is happy to play for any team. The former captain of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons also said that he was excited that he got to play with NLEX’s Larry Fonacier.
“Masaya naman ang first day ko. Comfortable kasi maraming Bisaya parang sina JR Quinahan, Mac Tallo,” Desiderio said regarding his first practice.
Tratter, meanwhile, said that he felt that he fits with the Road Warriors but it will no longer be his decision if he will remain with the team or not.
“I feel like I fit in but it’s not my decision, so I’m controlling what I can. Coach Yeng said he’s confident in our talent no matter what, so coming in today, I’m just excited to start my career. I’m gonna live like I was picked number 1,” Tratter said.
Per recent reports, the trade deal has reached the table of the PBA Commissioner’s Office and now awaits the approval of the league’s four man trade committee.