ALASKA Milk is set to beef up its shallow and ageing frontline by getting sophomore Vic Manuel from Air21 in a trade for Aldrech Ramos, sources told Spin.ph on Sunday.
The two ballclubs have already agreed in principle on the trade and the papers will be submitted to the PBA Commissioner's Office for approval on Monday, a person with inside knowledge of the negotiations said.
Alaska is expected to get a boost from Manuel, an underrated and undersized forward who nonetheless has proven to be a force in the paint in the few playing opportunities he got at Air21, Meralco, and GlobalPort.
The trade is set to reunite him with Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, his coach at D-League side Cebuana Lhuillier who sources said has long wanted Manuel to beef up a frontline that relies a lot on Sonny Thoss.
The former D-League MVP and first-round pick will now join Gabby Espinas, Nic Belasco, Eddie Laure, and Calvin Abueva in Alaska's frontline as the Aces fight to retain their Commissioner's Cup championship.
Spin.ph has also learned that Carlo Sharma almost got involved in the trade that went through several revisions, but the Aces no longer had an extra piece acceptable to Air21 to add to the transaction.
Like Manuel, Ramos was a first-round pick in the draft but has now been involved in his fifth trade since being taken at No. 5 overall by Barako Bull in 2012-13 before being immediate shipped to San Mig.
The trade, sources said, was initiated by Alaska, which has been courting Air21 governor Lito Alvarez about Manuel since last conference.
"Last conference pa nila hinahabol si Vic kasi naging player ni Luigi (Trillo) dati, tapos nagkataon kailangan may Eric Camson na dine-develop ang Air 21 who is a duplication of Manuel. That's why they went for Aldrech, a big and versatile 4," said the source.