photo by: PBA.ph
by: Bong Paredes
On the heels of the recently concluded 2019 NBA Finals, we just witnessed how a very good and deep team like the Toronto Raptors can ascend to the title by adding a top 3 NBA player in Kawhi Leonard. Warriors fans can point out to the injury woes their team incurred but fact remains that this Kawhi led Raptors are the new champs and I loved it and dreaded it at the same time because I won’t be getting my NBA fix until the 2019-20 Season opens later this year.
Fortunately for us here in the Philippines, basketball never stops. We have the PBA! After what happened to the Raptors, I was hoping one of the teams that are in the middle of the pack can make a move similar to what the Raptors did. But what team can pull something like that (not taking into consideration the imports ofcourse)? Hmm. Let’s see…
Oh, Blackwater will add 2nd Overall pick Bobby Ray Parks Jr! Wait, they were terrible last conference though so they will be decent at best. How about Alaska? No. Perhaps Rain or Shine? I mean they have a lot of nice young pieces that they can package to trade for a go to guy, right? But that is not ROS’ modus operandi. Besides, the PBA is not like the NBA and there are limited number of teams and players to trade for.
Well, at least we won’t be seeing any lopsided trades anymore because everyone cried foul over the ridiculous stunt that the best team in the league in SMB pulled off by trading for then consensus best player in the draft in Christian Standhardinger (okay Keiffer fans take it easy!) for nice role players in McCarthy, Reyes and Tubid (who has since returned to SMB). Right?
Boy was I wrong! I went to Twitter Monday afternoon and I chuckled as I saw something that I immediately dismissed as “fake news”. Stanley Pringle traded to Ginebra? That can’t be true? I mean, after years of flirting with the possibility of a deep playoff run with then backcourt partner Terrence Romeo to the finally living up to his 2015 top PBA overall pick billing in Moala Tautuaa … Northport is finally getting there especially with the addition of super rookie Robert Bolick. Two days later, it’s clear that the joke is on me. The league already gave its stamp of approval and once the again the rich got richer in the PBA landscape.
The middle of the pack teams that I hoped to pull something the Raptors did never got that opportunity. Instead, one of the top teams in the PBA in Ginebra got the best point guard in Asia (Pringle would have beaten Castro if he was eligible as a local). Coach Pido Jarencio saying it’s a win-win for both teams is an insult to the basketball savvy fans in this country. Am I taking coach Pido out of context with what he said in the column from SPIN.ph? Let’s look at each point closely, shall we?
First, he said they don’t have enough players due to injuries to multiple players (Pringle and Elorde). This is a lame excuse because Northport are currently sitting at 2nd place with a 5-1 slate. If they lose a game or two in the next week, they have enough of a cushion to stay atop the standings since Pringle seems ready to play this Sunday anyways. I’m sure they (Northport) know the extent of his injury and when he can come back.
The other point that Coach Jarencio stressed is immediate depth that Mercado, Cruz and Ferrer will provide. There is some truth to this of course because all three players are legitimate PBA rotation talent. Sol Mercado was an elite PBA player but his best days are behind him. If you want to contend against the like of SMB, Ginebra and Magnolia, you need a go to player that can score at will and by trading their only player that fits that bill, you are just fooling yourself if you think your team got better.
This transaction is not any different from what SMB did to get Standhardinger. You can take out the name of the teams and the players and you wouldn’t be able to distinguish if it was Ginebra or San Miguel. “One of the top teams in the league traded 3 serviceable rotation players to get an elite Fil-foreign talent that is good enough to fill the naturalized spot for Gilas if Blatche is unavailable”. See? If my argument has no merits, I’d love to hear anyone enlighten me.
I love the PBA and I want it to flourish but this right here, does not help the league get there.