By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Already one of the powerhouse teams in the PBA, Petron Blaze will even become stronger once the trade proposal that centers on rookie forward Marcio Lassiter of Powerade gets the approval from the league’s Commissioner’s Ofﬁce.
Reliable sources conﬁrmed yesterday that the Boosters and the Tigers consummated the trade last Friday with Lassiter joining the already talented roster of Petron in exchange for sophomores Noy Baclao and Rey Guevara from Powerade.
The trade proposal, according to a person who has knowledge with the talks, has been forwarded to Commissioner, Atty. Angelico “Chito” Salud for approval.
Salud is currently in Japan for a business trip and will return by Thursday.
The decision to ship the 6-foot2 Lassiter to Petron only add to woes to the team following reports that top ofﬁ cials of The Coca-Cola Company based in Atlanta is reselling the franchise to the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) last week.
Powerade is a brand of CocaCola.
The Bulletin tried to get the reaction of JB Baylon, Powerade’s representative to the PBA Board of Governors, but a text message wasn’t answered as of press time.
Baylon already denied last week that there’s a sale with SMC.
Powerade guard Gary David, the Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference (BPC) used his Twitter account to air his side, apparently a reaction to the news that Lassiter is being traded to Petron, saying: “This is unfair. No idea what’s happening with the team!!!“
Lassiter was tabbed No. 4 overall by the Tigers in last year’s PBA Rookie Draft following a solid stint with the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas.
Together with David and fellow rookie JVee Casio, the top pick in the Draft, they powered Powerade to the Finals of the all-Filipino conference, where they lost to reigning champion Talk ‘N Text in five games in the best-of-seven series.
Lassiter also figured in the BPC race, ranking third overall after the semifinal round behind David and Petron’s Arwind Santos, leading all rookies with 17 points per game average, while adding 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals.
He finished fourth after the voting.
A source also said that there are indeed talks to unload Petron center Rabah Al-Hussaini, with three teams interested in the 6-foot-7 sophomore center, including newcomer Shopinas.com, which will use the name Air21 starting in the Commissioner’s Cup on Friday.