Calvin Oftana on the move: TNT Tropang Giga wins; NLEX Road Warriors, Blackwater Bossing lose in blockbuster trade

Calvin Oftana is at the center of a blockbuster three-team PBA trade that will see him land at TNT Tropang Giga from NLEX Road Warriors. PBA Media Bureau

Calvin Oftana is bound for TNT Tropang Giga, headlining a proposed blockbuster PBA trade that involves three teams and six players.

In a development first reported by Tiebreaker Times and SPIN, the deal will see NLEX Road Warriors package Oftana and center Raul Soyud to the Tropang Giga pending the trade committee's approval.

Blackwater Bossing, the third team, will acquire forward Troy Rosario and sharpshooter Gab Banal from TNT, while the Road Warriors will receive 46th PBA Season top pick Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and two second-round picks in the 2022 and 2025 drafts.

The trade was approved Wednesday, Sep. 19, by the PBA who ordered a slight revision from the original version that initially had beleaguered guard Paul Desiderio -- who is still under league inquiry for domestic abuse allegations -- headed to NLEX instead of the two picks.

Oftana will now be reunited with coach Chot Reyes, who handled the 6-foot-5 forward in the recent window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Once approved by the league, Oftana would be reunited with coach Chot Reyes, who handled the 6-foot-5 forward in the recent window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.

Oftana's departure from NLEX came over a week after the exit of long-time coach Yeng Guiao, who oversaw the 2019 NCAA Most Valuable Player's leap from budding star forward to bona fide franchise pillar.

Rosario, another high-profile name in the deal, will be getting a fresh start with Blackwater after a rocky end to a seven-year stint with TNT.

The four-time All-Star won his first career title with the franchise in last year's Philippine Cup and was a productive member early in TNT's title defense last conference, but his production dipped later on in the playoffs.

NLEX, meanwhile, will retool its frontline by adding Ganuelas-Rosser, the 23-year-old big man previously touted by Bossing coach Ariel Vanguardia as "the future" of the franchise before being sent away after just eight games played.

ESPN analyzes the multi-team trade and discusses what this means for the squads and players involved.


Oftana (17.0 points on 55.8% True Shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 steals last conference) is obviously a massive addition for the Tropang Giga, who are getting an incredibly talented forward with the potential to be one of the league's best three-level scorers in recent memory.

Already possessing an intriguing ability to score from any spot on the floor, the 26-year-old upped the ante by embracing more on-ball responsibility -- something Oftana didn't do much of early in his career.

While he wasn't highly proficient -- he only scored 0.76 points per possession (PPP) when attacking as the ball-handler off the pick and roll, per InStat, a tad below league average -- these reps comprised the majority (17.9%) of his offense.

This bodes well for the versatility of Oftana, already a solid catch-and-shoot three-point shooter (36.%) who can get to the rim with ease if defenses close out on him from deep.

The main question, however, is whether or not Oftana can continue to get these opportunities with TNT.

Concerns of Oftana largely being relegated as a spot-up shooter and pick-and-pop big are warranted, because he effectively replaces Rosario -- TNT's former primary choice at the 4 whose diet on offense mainly consisted of those aforementioned shots.

There's also the fact that TNT already has three ball-dominant guys on the roster in Mikey Williams and Roger Pogoy, who ranked 6th and 7th in terms of usage rate last conference per advanced database Stats by Ryan; and Jayson Castro, a ball-screen savant who remains one of the league's best advantage creators.

Soyud, meanwhile, should carve out a prominent role in a packed TNT frontcourt owing to his sheer efficiency as a play finisher and monstrous rebound rates.

A knee injury has kept Soyud from seeing the floor often over the last two tournaments, but a career run in 2020 best illustrates how his peak form benefits TNT.

That conference, no player had a higher TS percentage (75.9%) and offensive rebound rate (15.7 percent) than Soyud, who primarily subsisted on shots through rolls and putbacks. That's a plus for the Tropang Giga, who posted the lowest PPP on pick-and-rolls and the third-lowest offensive rebounding figures.


The Road Warriors don't seem like they have any control of the direction they're headed.

After coach Guiao walked away from the franchise, the Road Warriors proceeded to give away its franchise star and a very good big man to their sister team for the value of just one actual PBA player in return.

Ganuelas-Rosser carries loads of potential to be a frontline star, but he still has ways to go before getting there.

On a Blackwater team that got more than what they expected from veteran guard Jvee Casio, unheralded rookie Ato Ular, and trade ballast-turned-reliable post operator Yousef Taha, last season's first overall pick didn't seem quite settled on a role since his return from a hand injury and only posted 11.1 points (49.2 TS%, below average) 3.5 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 19 minutes per game through eight contests.

His jumper was largely absent and he wasn't efficient at all when driving off passes -- Ganuelas-Rosser shot an awful 22.5 percent on those plays -- but the hope is that NLEX puts him in a position to succeed as a play finisher through cuts and in the pick-and-roll, where he shot a staggering 72.7% from the field.

LEX getting a couple of second round picks is a huge upgrade from what they were initially supposed to get in Desiderio, an undersized score-first guard who has been wildly inefficient and unremarkable (5.0 points, 45.8 TS%) through 57 career games.

At the moment, the former UP Fighting Maroons guard is under an unresolved league probe for allegations of domestic violence by his former partner Agatha Uvero and has reportedly retired from the PBA after being removed from the trade.


Three months after Vanguardia tagged Ganuelas-Rosser as "the future", Blackwater decided to flip the Fil-Am big man for Rosario and Banal -- objectively a good haul and both a better fit for this roster, but also the result of the Bossing continuing an unseemly trend of trading away elite talent for a bargain.

There's an argument to be made here in favor of the Bossing's decision-making.

Rosario, for his recent struggles, is still a very good player who -- at his best -- has a penchant for finishing plays from the dunker spot and spacing the floor at a reasonable rate.

The former NU star's efficiency and production has been on a downward trend in recent years as his offensive development has plateaued, but a less demanding role in a new environment with less pressure should serve him well.

Banal, meanwhile, gets some well-deserved freedom after oddly losing minutes in TNT. A 6-3 guard with a sweet touch from long range and the ability to be a secondary/tertiary playmaker, he's a shot in the arm for a Blackwater team that looked a little thin at times at the 2 and 3 positions.

The 32-year-old swingman earned a two-year deal with the Tropang Giga over a year ago and shot a blistering 46.6% on his triples during the 2021 season, but Banal curiously only got 6.1 minutes a game last conference after playing 18.4 minutes the previous year.

Will they actually stay in Blackwater, though?

A sharpshooting playmaker like Banal is always an alluring target for top teams, while Rosario is an unrestricted free agent once his contract end next year, which could pave the way for a return to TNT -- or a move to any of the teams under the San Miguel Corporation, where he could be the latest player from the MVP Group to join their rivals.