The Blackwater Bossing pulled off a trade on Monday on account of ‘correcting past mistakes’ and planned to bolster its roster with the addition of former MPBL Finals MVP Mike Ayonayon in a three-player exchange.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office has already approved the deal that sent big man Marion Magat for a reunion with the Road Warriors in exchange for the high-flying guard plus 6-foot-4 Will McAloney.
Initially, it was a hard decision to let go of the 6-foot-7 slotman as per interim head coach Ariel Vanguardia, but things turned out better when the shorthanded Road Warriors agreed to send big man McAloney to the Dioceldo Sy-owned squad.
It can be traced back that Ayonayon was really the Bossing’s target in the 2019 Rookie Draft and not Maurice Shaw.
“It’s correcting mistakes of the past,” Vanguardia said in an interview with Tiebreaker Times. “Kasi, we initially wanted Ayonayon to be drafted at the time when we drafted Maurice Shaw.
“Matagal na namin gusto si Mike, so we asked NLEX. Matagal na ‘to niluluto, eh. Back-and-forth ang negotiations. Initially we didn’t want to let go of Marion, kasi mababawasan kami ng big. So ‘yun, nag-add ng big, nagkasundo na.”
The 28-year old high-flyer made his star turn by helping lead the San Juan Knights en route to Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) championship in 2019 where he emerged as the Finals MVP, building up his draft stock to be picked at No. 3 in the first round of the regular PBA draft of the same year.
Vanguardia, during that time, crossed paths with Ayonayon after he served as head coach Tino Pinat’s consultant with Manila. From then on, he knew that the six-foot combo guard was surely capable of delivering the goods.
“Coach Tino was the head coach sa Manila no’n and I was the consultant, so nakita naman namin kung paano maglaro ‘yung bata. For a while nag-Letran and PCU rin ‘yan. So, alam naman namin kung ano ‘yung capability niya,” he said.
Though it came in a losing effort, Ayonayon was a full-on scorer back in the Clark bubble last year where he collected a career-high 20 points and six rebounds against Blackwater.
“He can score, can play 1, 2, and 3 and naging Finals MVP,” utterd Vanguardia. “And maganda ang pinakita niya nung unang bubble when he was a rookie. Last time nawala sa rotation, pero alam naman natin what he’s capable of doing,” Vanguardia said.
Ayonayon fell out of Yeng Guiao’s main rotation during the recent PBA Philippine Cup in Bacolor, seeing action in just five games, afar from his Clark bubble stint where he played in eleven games in total.