Overshadowing the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals is that celebrated trade involving Kia Picanto and the San Miguel Beermen. At stake is the rights to the top overall pick of the 2017 PBA Draft set to take place this coming Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, at the Midtown Atrium, Robinsons Place Manila.
As mentioned in a previous post, Kia and San Miguel agreed to a deal which involved Beermen Jay-R Reyes, Keith Agovida, Rashawn McCarthy and a future pick. After drawing backlash, the offer was allegedly revised with the SMB instead offering Ronald Tubid, Yancy De Ocampo, Rashawn McCarthy and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.
Despite the revision, PBA officials and followers still remained skeptical. The Beermen are already a powerhouse team so potentially adding someone like Christian Standhardinger or even Kiefer Ravena made no sense. Further, it could deprive that choice to blossom into a full-fledged star. It has happened before.
According to the Philippine Star, PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa has temporarily put the proposed trade on hold. “I’ll talk to them and know the reasons,” said Narvasa. “There’s a trade but the personalities are not sure.”
Is Kia here to compete?
Kia has been notorious for trading away its picks. In 2015, they dealt the no. 2 pick to TnT KaTropa in exchange for KG Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos, Spin.ph reported. They eventually selected Troy Rosario.
Canaleta and Ramos didn’t last long and there were other budding players traded away. That included the likes of Bradwyn Guinto, Paolo Taha, Karl Dehesa, Alex Mallari, and Mike Digregorio.
So what is going on here? Is Kia in the PBA to compete?
The closest explanation here is that Kia may have joined the league to help its business. Any business expert would agree that seeing the brand in the professional league helps boost the company through brand recall.
Unfortunately, this may not be acceptable for other club owners since it renders imbalance to the league. Teams with money to burn can cash-in and hence get the top players to help in their respective campaigns. Unfortunately not all teams resort to such, with most opting to uplift competition by grinding it out and mapping strategies even without blue-chip names.
This is not to say that powerhouse teams like SMB and TnT have inferior coaches. They have masterful mentors who need to perform for their teams to flourish. However, adding more pawns to the mix gives them better chances.
Kia is a different product
Speaking of business, Kia offers a product that people can easily pass up. They offer vehicles that cost hundreds of thousands to millions which plain individuals may not prioritize.
Most of the teams promote consumer goods that anyone can easily buy. The commodities range from beer, hotdogs, gin, mobile phone loads, perfume, paint and milk. Hence, there is no denying that they are in the PBA for business with their intention to actually compete questioned.
In the past, there was Toyota who managed to balance things between business and the spirit of competition. At this point, it remains to be seen if Kia would have the same in mind.
The times may have changed but it is pretty clear – most want quality PBA games. Commissioner Narvasa was wise enough to put the trade on hold for now. At any rate, the best scenario here is to see another revision which may involve at least a proven superstar from the SMB side.
No names have been suggested for now. But if SMB is forced into a corner, they may look at their current roster and see who is aging and in the twilight of their career.
If not, SMB will need to look at their future lineup as a whole. Whether it be Standhardinger, Ravena or even Jeron Teng, it all boils down to locating the position that may become overcrowded or redundant.