TIGERS BAG DUREMDES, CABAGNOT, CALIMAG IN MULTI-PLAYER DEAL
Miranda, Ramos, draft pick to Sta. Lucia
Thursday, 05 April 2007
When Sta. Lucia and Coca-Cola collide on Wednesday, Kenneth Duremdes will be donning the red and white Tigers jersey alongside former teammates John Arigo and Ali Peek.
While most people were preoccupied planning their vacations this Holy Week, the Realtors and the Tigers were busy on the negotiating table.
Apparently, the two ballclubs reached a deal Tuesday night with Sta. Lucia dealing Duremdes – the 1998 PBA Most Valuable Player – along with sophomore guard Alex Cabagnot and reserve forward Ricky Calimag to Coca-Cola in a multi-player swap.
"It's great that we got talented players whom we feel can help us big in our campaign not only this conference but in the seasons to come," said Coca-Cola coach Binky Favis.
"We got a veteran player in Kenneth who, with his experience, will bring leadership to the team, while I believe Alex is one of the best playmakers in the league," he added.
In return, the Tigers, who were removed from the San Miguel Corporation umbrella following the sale of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. to The Coca-Cola Company, gave up former Far Eastern U point guard Dennis Miranda, substitute center Manny Ramos and Coke's second round pick in the 2008 Rookie Draft.
Trade documents have already been forwarded to the Commissioner’s Office for approval.
"I had no other choice but to sacrifice one of my marquee players because of our bulging payroll. Had I decided to keep Kenneth, we would be forced to play with just a nine-man lineup next season. It can’t be done," said Sta. Lucia governor Buddy Encarnado.
"Sayang si Cabagnot dahil bata pa. But no one would take Kenneth on a one-on-one trade," Encarnado added.
Before the trade, Sta. Lucia was the only team in the league still paying players a maximum amount of P500,000 a month. Duremdes, and Dennis Espino are guaranteed of that pay up to December next year. Marlou Aquino used to receive the same amount until the expiration of his old contract last season.
Aquino now gets the maximum pay of P350,000 a month under the revised salary cap rule.
Also under the revised cap rule, Cabagnot, the second round pick overall last season, is guaranteed of the maximum package of P8.5 million in his first three years in the league.
The same package went to Kelly Williams after being picked No. 1 overall by Sta. Lucia in the most recent Rookie Draft.
"We’re really having a hard time getting players we need because of our bulging pay ceiling. With this trade, we opened up some room to maneuver next year," said Encarnado.
"Of course, I was saddened by what happened, both players are close to me. But it’s really management’s call to make the deal because of the salary cap. Dennis and Marlou now have bigger responsibilities on the exit of Kenneth, Alex and Ric," said Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez.
Duremdes, now 33 and one of the league's 25 Greatest Players, said he feels sad about the development but at the same time excited to face a new challenge in his career.
"Nang dumating ako sa Sta. Lucia akala ko doon na ako magre-retire. Five years ko na sila (Realtors) kasama kaya medy malungkot tayo," said Duremdes, who spent most of last season on the injured list. "Sa isang banda parang bagong buhay ito sa akin. Panibagong challenge."
Coca-Cola is Duremdes' fourth team in a career now spanning 13 years. He spent his rookie year with the now disbanded Sunkist, which made him the league's third pick overall in 1995 before trading him to Alaska in 1997.
Duremdes played a key role in the Aces’ rotation and, in seven years helped the team win two of its 10 championships before Alaska dealt him to the Realtors on Draft Day of 2003 in exchange for Sta. Lucia's first round pick (fifth pick overall). (DBC/NC)