The PBA has approved the five-man transaction that would finally bring star rookie Marcio Lassiter from the Powerade Tigers to the Petron Blaze Boosters.
In a text message, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial confirmed the league’s approval of the deal.
The trade is a revised version of an initial proposal last February, which would have sent Lassiter to the Boosters in exchange for Rey Guevarra and Noy Baclao. That original proposal was vetoed by the PBA, with league commissioner Chito Salud saying that it would have a negative effect on the league’s balance.
In the new trade, Powerade sent Lassiter and Celino Cruz to Petron for Guevarra, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, and Lordy Tugade. The PBA described the trade as having “acceptable parity” for both sides.
Powerade went through with the deal despite an earlier pronouncement from coach Bo Perasol that he would prefer that the team not trade Lassiter, the team’s second-leading local scorer and the top candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. Perasol was among the signatories to the trade documents.
Powerade executive Ronnie Asuncion, for his part, explained the rationale behind the trade in a statement. “We are very happy with this trade. We are getting a much-needed big man in Rabeh Al-Hussaini and getting two proven shooters and scorers in Guevarra and Tugade,” he said. The statement added that Perasol welcomed the trade.
Al-Hussaini won Rookie of the Year honors last season, but has just recently returned to action after recovering from torn ACL surgery. Tugade, 34, is a veteran shooter who has seen limited minutes for Petron, while Guevarra, the third overall pick in last season’s draft, is a role player off the bench for the Boosters.
Cruz, 34, is a journeyman point guard who has seen action for Shell, Red Bull, Burger King, Purefoods, and Ginebra.