PBA OKs Raymundo-Intal-Ababou deal

AKTV/Paolo Papa

The PBA on Friday approved the blockbuster five-man trade involving Barako Bull, Barangay Ginebra, and B-MEG.

In the deal, B-MEG received Gin Kings forward JC Intal and a 2012 2nd round pick from Barako Bull that originally belonged to Air 21, formerly Ginebra got Llamados forward Kerby Raymundo and Energy rookie Dylan Ababou. Barako Bull ended up with Gin Kings veteran swingman Ronald Tubid and rookie Reil Cervantes, as well as a second round draft pick in 2014 from Ginebra.

PBA commissioner Chito Salud, who has the right to revise or veto transactions that he deems imbalanced, gave his stamp of approval to the trade as is.

“The three-way trade was fairly sound and reasonable,” he said. “The teams gave and received players and picks of relative even value and use for their respective purposes.”

B-MEG coach Tim Cone had nothing but kind words for Raymundo on Twitter.

“Kerby was the consummate professional. It only took one conference for me to realize his greatness as a player and a person,” Cone wrote.

“Kerby leaving is almost like when Alvin retired. End of an era for Purefoods/B-MEG.”

He also explained how the acquisition of Intal would complement B-MEG top gun James Yap.

“We feel JC will be the perfect ‘bookend’ for James — a threat on the other side of the floor and a topnotch, athletic defender,” he wrote.

A 10-time all-star selection and a three-time member of the PBA mythical squad, Raymundo has been part of the Purefoods franchise since 2002, winning the Governors’ Cup finals Most Valuable Player award in his first tournament with the team. After missing most of last season due to injury, the former Letran stalwart made a triumphant return for the Llamados in the Philippine Cup, ranking first on the team in assists, second in rebounding, and third in scoring.

Intal was a reliable role player for the Gin Kings, averaging 9.2 points per game in the Philippine Cup, good for fifth on the team.

Ababou, a former SMART-Gilas Pilipinas backup forward, had a solid rookie campaign for Barako Bull, averaging 11.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Picked 10th overall, Ababou will be joining another former Barako rookie, No. 8 pick Allein Maliksi, on the Ginebra lineup. Curiously, Barako Bull, Ginebra, and B-MEG were also involved in another blockbuster deal earlier this season that sent Maliksi and Rico Maierhofer to the Gin Kings.

This marks the second consecutive year that the Barako Bull franchise has traded away all its first round picks midway through the season. Last year, the team, then known as Air 21, traded its top three picks Nonoy Baclao, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, and Rey Guevarra to San Miguel.

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