While Air 21 has expressed interest in acquiring the services of former Barako Bull guard Wynne Arboleda, the rights to the veteran guard will likely end up with Petron Blaze.
PBA commissioner Chito Salud told InterAKTV that Petron made a tender offer as early as Monday and the PBA will wait until today to see if there are other teams interested in Arboleda.
“We will find out if there’s another team interested to get him by matching the offer made by Petron,” said Salud in a telephone interview.
“Petron has made a three-year, maximum offer. If there’s another team willing to match the offer, then the player will have the right to choose the team he wants to play for, unless it’s Air 21.”
As per PBA rules, Air 21 and Barako Bull are sister teams and cannot make direct trades with each other. Neither are they allowed to sign players released by the other squad.
“Being a sister team, Air 21 cannot pick up Arboleda as he came from Barako Bull,” said Salud. “So it seems Petron will get the rights to the said player.”
Air 21 team manager Jovie Saddul said in a telephone interview that they will negotiate with Petron and make a trade offer to get the services of Arboleda.
One player who might be offered is Jojo Duncil, a member of the Boosters’ champion squad last season, that was taken by Air 21, then known as Shopinas.com, during the dispersal draft. Petron had already made its desire to re-acquire the former UST stalwart known.
“Yes, they’ve expressed their interest in him, but we will see what we can offer para makuha namin si Wynne,” said Saddul.
Express coach Franz Pumaren said Arboleda will be a vital cog in retooling the team’s guard spots.
“He’s a veteran guard and a tough player. For a young team, we need toughness and that’s one thing he can provide,” said Pumaren. “We really need a pure point guard, something in Arboleda’s caliber.”
Arboleda, meanwhile, is happy with the latest developments.
“Kahit saan naman tayo, hangga’t may naniniwala. Masaya ako na binigyan ako ng offer na three years. Good blessing ito sa akin at sa family ko bago man ako mag-retire,” said Arboleda.
Arboleda added that he was called up by Saddul to attend Air 21′s practice on Tuesday, but he couldn’t make it because of a bum stomach.
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