The blockbuster trade involving its sister team — TNT Tropang Giga — and Blackwater caught NLEX by surprise as it lost its rising star with barely a week before the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup unwraps on 22 September at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A Daily Tribune source yesterday claimed that the Road Warriors had no idea about the trade that sent Calvin Oftana and Raul Soyud to the TNT Tropang Giga while landing rookie Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and free agent Paul Desiderio from Blackwater.

The Bossing, however, will get Troy Rosario and Gab Banal in the three-team, six-player transaction that was already sent to the Commissioner’s Office for approval.

The source said the deal caught the Road Warriors by surprise as Oftana still played in a friendly match against Changwon LG Sakers of the Korean Basketball League Wednesday afternoon.

Soyud, however, was not around as well as injured stalwarts JR Quinahan, Anthony Semerad, Philip Paniamogan, Kevin Alas and Matt Nieto.

“The trade demoralized NLEX,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They just lost their coach and now they are losing their best young player in a trade involving their sister team. The team has no idea how to move on from here.”

Oftana’s departure is such a big deal to NLEX.

The No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft emerged as NLEX’s top scorer this season, averaging 17.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

But losing key players to TNT Tropang Giga is nothing new for the Road Warriors.

In fact, it lost its No. 4 pick of last year’s draft to the Tropang Giga, which they eventually used to draft Filipino-American playmaker Mikey Williams.

The Road Warriors also lost future Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Poy Erram to the Tropang Giga in a trade that also had Blackwater as conduit in 2020.

Their biggest loss was their head coach Yeng Guiao.

Guiao, who handled NLEX for five years, decided to walk away after the management offered him a corporate position instead of extending his contract.

The Road Warriors have yet to recover from Guiao’s departure and still couldn’t find a replacement while the fiery mentor returned to his former team, Rain or Shine.

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