In the PBA, or in any basketball league for that matter, the first few picks at the draft is the most coveted. Being able to draft first would give your team the opportunity to get the top prospect in the draft class. But what if you have three, not one, draft pick at the first round? Sounds even better, right?
Apparently, Barako Bull and its management did not see it that way. They held the 4th, 5th, and 6th first round draft picks for the 2013-2014 PBA season. That meant they can acquire three top prospects from the 2013 draft class! And with a talent-laden draft class that everyone has been raving about, one can only think that Barako Bull hit the jackpot- even though they did not get the top pick!
Thus, my jaw dropped to the floor when I found out about the news that they traded their draft picks for Barangay Ginebra (4th pick), Petron (5th pick), and GlobalPort (6th pick). In exchange for their draft picks, Barako Bull will get Dylan Ababou, Magi Sison, Mark Isip, and Denok Miranda (from GlobalPort). It's a curious situation to say the least. All four players hardly ever get minutes on the floor from their previous teams, with Denok Miranda putting in the most minutes. And Miranda's even a third unit player for Petron, in most cases! This leaves fans to question Barako Bull's decision to trade their picks... BUT WHY?
Fans, sports analysts, and team owners alike had been irate about this recent development and most of them aren't shy about expressing their views on Twitter. Check out their tweets below, ranging from serious to funny:
It is also not coincidental that Serbian head coach Rajko Toroman has decided to leave the team. Now, not only is Barako Bull in the midst of a controversy, they are also without a head coach. Leo Austria is being raised as a potential new "head coach" but nothing has been made official yet.
For the most part, I've tried to maintain an objective standpoint in this blog, hoping to provide information and stick to a reportage kind of blogging. However, this recent development in the PBA involving one of the teams that I support has been disheartening, to say the least, for a basketball fan. I am sure that I speak on behalf of the fans' in expressing my dismay over Barako Bull's decision during the draft wherein they gave up the opportunity to acquire young and talented prospects who could strengthen the team in the future for players who, if they did not happen to be bench warmers in their previous team, were nearing the end of their playing career. There has been several suspicions over the basketball community about them potentially being a farm team but with the decision to give up 3 first round draft picks for players that can be referred to as past their heyday, there can't be a more glaring evidence than that.
Unless the Commissioner can come up with a logical and valid explanation (which I seriously doubt they could), the reputation of the league will forever be tarnished. The Commissioner has even rejected a less lopsided trade deal in the past, so it leaves one to question how this got passed by the board? It's a widely known fact that professional basketball is business, too. But when the business side of basketball has superseded the competition and sports, that is when it gets ugly. Hopefully, this isn't the start of PBA's demise.