Ranidel De Ocampo has been traded to the Meralco Bolts…
… and it’s not the end of the world.
At least the former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay left Talk N Text to join its sister squad.
Tell this to James Yap… or Danny Seigle for that matter… who were unceremoniously dropped by Purefoods and San Miguel, respectively because they have either outlived their usefulness… or otherwise.
It’s hard for players to log ten years playing for the same team… and more. We have the likes of Bong Alvarez – a bonafide superstar – jump from squad after squad because he’s always bothered with a sick mix of play style clashes, locker room heat, and injuries. This is the complete 360 with Jun Marzan – a dependable workhorse whose leech-like defense cemented his status as one of the most popular Shell players beyond the Paras-Magsanoc-Parks triumvirate.
Sonny Thoss, Mark Caguioa, Jayjay Helterbrand, Peter June Simon, Gabe Norwood, and Jayson Castro are players who have played for one team while Marc Pingris and Arwind Santos are among the notables who spent a decade in one squad.
But I guess the deal behind RDO’s trade is because of his exploits, he should retire as a Tropa.
Here are a couple of reasons why this is not the case.
This is not RDO’s first team
Long before RDO, he was once dubbed as Mister Wonderful. He got this moniker when he was still with the Air21 Express who had the likes of Wynne Arboleda, Gary David, Homer Se, KG Canaleta, and Arwind Santos. He was traded to Talk N Text in 2008 for Don Allado. The former DLSU King Archer would briefly play for the Express before going to Purefoods why the former St. Francis Dove has played for TNT for nearly a decade.
I get how fans are sympathetic to RDO’s yearnings to close out his career in TNT. If you think about it though, it’s not like he was forsaken by the management. Mark Caguioa could still hang with most players in the league but he’s restricted to the Ginebra bench because Tim Cone has better options… and we’ll probably think the Ginebra management sucks if they send The Spark elsewhere.
TNT will retire his number
I guess this is the main reason why I don’t give a rat’s ass on whether he’ll retire as a Tropa or a Bolt. Hell, even if he retires as a… whatever vehicle Kia wants to pimp, for as long as MVP and the rest of his cronies recognize the accolades Ranidelightful achieved, then this isn’t a case. Talk N Text’s most important season came during the 2011-12 PBA season with the Tropang Texters a mere game away from scoring a rare grand slam. TNT would also win three straight Philippine Cup titles… and RDO was part of these squads. As far as individual accolades go, RDO has a BPC, two Finals MVPs, three Mythical First Teams, one Mythical Second Team, and Gilas Pilipinas stints while being part of the squad. Not unless he bites the hand that fed him like what allegedly happened that led to the falling out between Danny Ildefonso and the San Miguel management, Ranidel has secured his place as part of TNT’s greatest players.
The departure of RDO left Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, and Kelly Williams as the team’s elder statesmen. If you compare the departures from the last three grand slam teams, TNT managed to stay intact better. Ali Peek was the first to go when he was sent to Sta. Lucia for Williams and Reyes… only to return after a few months. Jimmy Alapag retired in TNT, returned to Meralco, re-retired after one season, and is now calling the shots for the MVP-backed ABL squad Alab Pilipinas. De Ocampo and Larry Fonacier were traded away to the sister squads. And this is to take into consideration how supportive the TNT management was when Williams and Reyes languished in the sidelines due to injury.
But returning to De Ocampo.
Meralco took: Ranidel de Ocampo
TNT obtained: Norbert Torres, Phoenix’s 2017 first round pick, Justin Chua
Phoenix snagged: Meralco’s 2017 first round pick, TNT’s 2019 second round pick
By sending RDO to Meralco, RDO helped TNT plan for the future. At first this looks odd since the pick TNT targeted was the pick Phoenix acquired from San Miguel. Talk about trading down, there is no way San Miguel’s pick would land a top three slot… much less a top nine. This development takes TNT off the running from wrangling the likes of Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, or Raymar Jose. Hell, I don’t even think they have enough luck to combat the landing spots of Davon Potts, Lervin Flores, Rey Nambatac, and Jason Perkins.
But this could be an enticing proposition for Kia if they decide to send their top pick to TNT for a veteran and a pick.
Now TNT has two picks in the coming draft. They lost their own pick to GlobalPort when they re-acquired Jay Washington a few years back but they gained GlobalPort’s first round pick in the deal that sent Larry Fonacier and JR Quinahan to NLEX.
So not only did the trade helped Yeng Guiao… it helped TNT as well.
Moreover, GlobalPort got this trade when they swapped picks with Alaska alongside Gabby Espinas and Nonoy Baclao. The Aces are a potential Top 4 pick with their abysmal Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cup campaigns but they could nix the switching of first round picks if their original place is better than GlobalPort’s (thanks to Donskie for the clarification).
And as mentioned, the TNT-Phoenix trade.
And this isn’t like Phoenix opened up the same conduit shit made famous by Air21 and Barako Bull (there was a time when these two entities were linked). Phoenix could live without Torres and other than their own pick, they also own Meralco’s top pick. Phoenix’s pick is a potential top five pick and the Meralco pick could be in the realms of six to ten.
The Ranidel trade also opens up minutes for Williams, Moala Tautuaa, and Troy Rosario. And not to take away from Torres and Chua, these two aren’t just trade pawns. Torres in particular can be used for international tiffs like the FIBA Asia Champions Cup alongside the likes of the Gilas Pilipinas core and naturalization candidate Isaiah Austin.
But here’s the thing:
TNT’s Bastard Move:
TNT gives up Norbert Torres and the Phoenix pick
Kia gives up their first round pick
TNT’s Somewhat Bastard Move:
TNT gives up Norbert Torres and the GlobalPort (from Alaska) pick
Kia gives up their first round pick
TNT’s Fair Move:
TNT gives up Moala Tautuaa and the Phoenix pick
Kia gives up their first round pick
We have seen TNT pull off these kinds of moves and we have seen Kia accept these kinds of moves. I am hating on Kia. Whenever I see their team, I keep on wondering about Hapee Toothpaste’s franchise application.
Like I said… greater good.
When Boston parted ways with both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the fans were up in arms. Garnett’s entry to the squad sent the team back to championship euphoria. This was even greater in the case of Pierce, who has been with the squad from the good and the bad. But the mood changed when they realized how big of a bomb they unleashed on Brooklyn and how great are the assets that were given to them with these deals (let’s disregard how they wasted their 2018 first round pick on Kyrie Irving).
It’s the same case with TNT KaTropa. By dealing De Ocampo and Fonacier, they were able to tap new blood. And if you’re led to believe that the TNT transactions have ceased… think again.
I still think TNT would use their assets to covet Kia’s top pick.