As far as Mahindra lead assistant coach Chito Victolero is concerned, veteran forward Nino “KG” Canaleta remains an integral part of the Enforcers’ as they shoot for a 1st-ever franchise playoff appearance in their 2nd season in the PBA.
Victolero said he’s heard of trade rumors linking the 6-foot-6 Canaleta recently, but reiterated that other teams might have just floated the name of the 5-time PBA Slam Dunk champion.
“About that trade, hindi iyun galing sa amin. Kung galing man sa iba yun, siguro they are very interested with KG,” Victolero told FOX Sports, shortly after guiding the Enforcers to a confidence-boosting 111-98 demolition of GlobalPort Friday night in the opening game of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Victolero explained that Canaleta’s solid 20-point game against GlobalPort is enough proof that they have full trust and confidence on the sweet-shooting wingman.
“KG is in our system. Alam namin paano namin siya gagamitin and I like his attitude because he’s practicing well and is doing great in our game,” stressed the 40-year-old former Mapua Cardinal coach.
On the other hand, Canaleta, who celebrated his 34th birthday by also gaining Best Player honors, said getting traded is an accepted fact in professional basketball.
“Siguro sa experience ko sa mga trade trade na iyan, di na ako nagulat na ma-involve uli ako. Pero ako, lalaro lang ako. Hindi ako mag-iisip ng kung ano,” said Canaleta.
But the 11-year PBA veteran admitted that he has no control at all if ever Mahindra management decides to ship him out to another team.
“Nakakapagod siyempre (to be traded) pero tayo, wala namang magagawa eh. Sila (management) ang may control. Kahit na sabihin kong huwag niyo akong i-trade di naman natin kontrolado,’” he added.
Trade reports in recent days have linked the PBA journeyman to Meralco.
Canaleta, who was selected sixth overall by Air21 in the 2005 PBA Draft, has played in seven various teams during his 11-year pro career.
He began his PBA career with Air21, was traded to B-Meg in 2009, joined Shopinas.com in 2011, joined Barangay Ginebra, followed by Air21 from 2012-13, Talk ‘N Text (2013-14), NLEX (2014-15), before ending up with Mahindra last year. — By Richard Dy