FOR so many times, the Air21 Express always turn out to be the conduit partner when two sister teams like to trade players because they are not entitled through direct trade transaction based on the league’s strict rules and regulations.

The transaction made by sister teams the Talk ‘N Text Texters and new member the Meralco Boltz, the Express, who served as third party in the trade to consumate the trade, earned important player and another item to bolster their line-up.

Air21 received spitfire sophomore playmaker Josh Urbiztondo and big man Ali Peek from Meralco and its third overall pick after the Express sent Mac-Mac Cardona and Beau Belga to the Boltz who will be coached by Ryan Gregorio.

“It’s good to have somebody like Josh (Urbiztondo),” said Air21 head coach Yeng Guiao, who already got starter Wynnie Arboleda and Marcy Arellano at the point, while Renren Ritualo and Ronjay Buenafe are his other backcourt players.

Talk ‘N Text also shipped back JR Quinahan to Air21 for the fourth overall pick and Peek. In separate deal, Billy Mamaril went back to Ginebra for future pick.

Urbiztondo averaged 9.3 points and 3.2 rebounds while Quinahan averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in last year’s Philippine Cup.

The Express also have four first round picks – first, second, third and sixth overall – in Sunday’s Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft at the Market!!! Market!!! Place in Taguig.

After loosing two big men – Mamaril and Belga, Guiao and the Express are looking to tap 6-foot-7 Rabeh Al-Hussaini as the No. 1 draft pick this year to reunite with brother Carlo Sharma, also a big man.

The Express will go for defensive specialist Nonoy Baclao for the second overall pick, while the third and sixth pick will be decided by the coaching staff.

But University of the East’s Elmer Espiritu, Rey Guevarra and RJ Jazul are the other talents eyed by the Express.

For newly-installed Air21 team governor Johann Ramos, he said: “We at Air21, together with Chairman Bert Lina, are very excited for today’s rookie draft. What better way to start Air21’s season by getting the first three picks plus the sixth? This gives us the perfect opportunity to strengthen our line-up and have a meaningful campaign.”

Ramos also lauded former PBA Chairman Lito Alvarez and now the Customs Commissioner for his masterful dealings during his term.


Is Josh for Real? -SPORTING CHANCE BY Quinito Henson

For someone who was ignored in the PBA draft last August, unheralded point guard Josh Urbiztondo plays with no chip on his shoulder. The 5-10 1/2 “Fireball” – his new moniker – has worked his way to a starting job with Sta. …

UNDRAFTED URBIZTONDO PROVES HE BELONGS IN THE BIG LEAGUE | Philippine Basketball Association That is why it came as no surprise when he came up with a breakout game for Sta. Lucia Realty last Friday and bagged what is projected to be his first KFC/Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the limited period Oct. 26 to 30.

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