Coca Cola Tigers: Alex Cabagnot and Ricky Calimag
Sta. Lucia Realtors: Kenneth Duremdes, Manny Ramos and Denok Miranda and a 1998 second round pick
This was an obvious salary dump for the Realtors. Duremdes, 33, is no spring chicken and owns a fat contract equivalent to what a quarter of the team receives. The 2003 draft day deal that landed the Realtors one of the greatest players of all time can be considered as one of the best and worst deals of all time.
For Duremdes, the Realtors only gave up a first round pick (5th overall, which turned out to be Brandon Lee Cablay) but while it gave the Realtors a scary frontcourt troika of Espino-Aquino-Duremdes, it prevented the team from further building up its shallow bench. The hefty pay of the awesome threesome has constrained the team from getting a marquee name on the free agency who would have been able to help them become a more formidable team.
The Realtor bench resemble no better than a PBL team. Their top sixth man, Norman Gonzales, would probably not be able to crack other teamsâ€™ playing rotation. Heck, Paeng Santos would not even be on any teamâ€™s roster. Getting a team to play the suckerâ€™s role to accommodate the humungous salary of the Koronadal, South Cotabato native is a success by itself. Getting someone in return and a future draft pick would be downright a highway robbery of sorts. Sta. Lucia management must be commended for getting this deal done.
The Tigers get Alex Cabagnot, a player whom they have eyed since he applied for the draft two years ago. Cabagnot has great potential and his credentials indicate that he will be a crack guard in five years time. For the past two years, however, he has been on the brink of getting banned in the league: refusing to play after the Realtors drafted him, and the next one, defying team and league rules to play summer league ball in the US.
Despite his flaws, the Realtors did not want him dealt but realized itâ€™s the only way to get the deal to go down. Calimag is a throw-in to the trade to make salaries work. He replaces Manny Ramosâ€™ role on the team, which is to provide some additional help on the boards and nothing else. He can also score in spurts but not in a way you would expect him to dominate a game. Giving up a second round pick will hurt in the long run. If the Tigers do not have a good season next year, that would be a high second round pick in 1998, almost equivalent of a low first round pick. In a deep draft, that would be a Chris Pacana or a Larry Fonacier. The Realtors, on the other hand, have suddenly become more flexible. They got rid of Duremdesâ€™ 500 thou/month contract, got rid of a problem child in Alex Cabagnot, got a future second round pick and got one of the emerging guards in the league in Denok Miranda. Miranda joins former FEU teammates Mark Isip and Cesar Catli. Miranda will ensure that Kelly Williams and Dennis Espino get their points. Cabagnot is slightly better in terms of pro potential but Miranda is not far behind. Both players will be a good fit for their respective teams. Manny Ramos will be a nice insurance in case one of their big men get hurt. He has a nice touch from mid-range and has the size to bang against the leagueâ€™s other big men. Overall, Sta. Lucia helped themselves by freeing up space in their salary cap without losing much talent. Coca Cola also get better by having a leader in Kenneth Duremdes to lead their young team, and a future star in Alex Cabagnot. Duremdesâ€™ salary does not affect the Tigers since theyâ€™re well under the salary cap and have plenty of room to wiggle and sign up other marquee names. Here are my grades:
Grade for Coca Cola: C. They need something done and feel that Cabagnotâ€™s talents is enough to forget that Duremdes receives more than league maximum. Truth is, they have always been enamored of Cabagnotâ€™s game since over two years ago and when the opportunity to acquire him presented itself, the Tigers did not let that chance slip away. Only time will tell if they made the right move.
Grade for Sta. Lucia: A. Well, they were able to unload Duremdes. Who would in the right mind be willing to shoulder a half a million per month on a player whoâ€™s on the decline and injury-prone? Duremdesâ€™ contract runs up to December of next year so it was a great deal. Dennis Miranda is a nice player with great protential, especially on the opposite side of the court as a lockout defender.