Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy has revealed that he approved the deal last August that sent prized recruit Art dela Cruz to Barangay Ginebra “with a heavy heart.”
Interviewed by Philstar.com, Sy shed light on that two-on-two deal that also saw Blackwater forward Raymond Aguilar going to Ginebra in exchange for Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo.
Dela Cruz is a 6’4” star forward from the San Beda squad that won the NCAA title in 2014. He was also the NCAA Finals MVP in 2013. After picking Dela Cruz at ninth in the first round of the 2015 PBA draft, TNT sent him to Blackwater in exchange for the Elite’s top draft pick, Mo Tautuaa. Dela Cruz quickly showed his basketball smarts as an Elite, averaging 11.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the 2015-2016 PBA season.
However, Dela Cruz’s career suddenly hit a bump when he suffered an Achilles injury on the first day of the Gilas training camp last March. Later in August, the 25-year-old Dela Cruz suddenly found himself being shipped to Ginebra despite his injury that sidelined him for most of the league’s 42nd season.
Dela Cruz has reportedly recovered fully from his injury and raring to see action for the Gin Kings when the new season unfolds next month.
In sharp contrast, Ellis, the player that Blackwater got from Barangay Ginebra, has already been taken out of the Elite roster after showing no sign of interest in joining his new team.
Looking back, Sy said despite what happened, he has no regrets in trading Dela Cruz to Barangay Ginebra.
Explaining the circumstances that led to the trade, the Blackwater owner said when they found out that Dela Cruz suffered that Achilles injury, Dela Cruz’s father, former San Miguel player Arturo dela Cruz, approached him and asked for his son to be traded.
Sy said he could not turn down the request made by the senior Dela Cruz, saying he understood his feelings as a father. “And me as a father, also, I want my son to have a career after basketball,” Sy said.
“Me, being a father at heart, I had to trade him out because I know if the basketball career doesn’t work, he can still land a job in San Miguel,” the Blackwater owner added.
Sy said the deal was not made to strengthen the Blackwater roster but simple to help Dela Cruz. “It’s more than a basketball deal,” he said.
“So people might not understand my decision why I did it. But being a father — and I understand the mind of one — with a heavy heart, we had to trade him,” Sy added.
The Blackwater owner said they took a chance in getting Ellis but that it was just unfortunate that the high-flying Fil-Am cager seemed unwilling to join them.
“I think he (Ellis) is on his way out of the PBA,” Sy said.
But it was not all bad as Blackwater still has Marcelo. “We got Marcelo naman who is good,” Sy said.