GINEBRA gained Jeff Chan from a one-on-one trade with Phoenix on Monday, but what did it really lose?
The Gin Kings sent their first-round pick in the next PBA Rookie Draft to the Fuel Masters, giving the latter two selections in the first round that could be vital pieces in their bid to form a title contender.
There’s no question that Phoenix’s own selection would land at the very least a top four pick, with the one it got from Ginebra expected to land anywhere in the lower half of the first 12 selections.
The draft order is determined by the collective performance of the team for the season, with the all-Filipino conference counting for 40 percent of the tally and the import-laden tournaments 30 percent each.
The Fuel Masters finished ninth in the Philippine Cup, and currently sits at 3-6 in the Commissioner’s Cup. With two more tough games against GlobalPort and Alaska in the cupboard, the team faces a mountain to climb just to finish higher than eighth place.
If things remain as bad as it is for Phoenix for the Governors’ Cup, a top four selection, or maybe higher, is on its way.
Even coach Louie Alas sees that scenario unfolding, and he knows that at that slot, he’s bound to receive a solid neophyte.
With top prospects Bobby Ray Parks, CJ Perez, and Robert Bolick expected to go in the Top 3 selections, the Fuel Masters might just pluck someone like Fil-Am forward Abu Tratter at four, reuniting him with ex-La Salle teammate Jason Perkins who was also taken from that spot a year prior.
Now, how about that Ginebra pick?
The Gin Kings made it to the semifinals in the Philippine Cup and ranked third in the final standings.
However, they struggled this second conference and are currently in ninth place with their 3-5 card. Recent roster movements, though, point to Ginebra making a late run to the playoffs even with Columbian, Alaska, and GlobalPort next in its schedule, which would land them not higher than fifth place.
With Justin Brownlee eyeing a treble in the season-ending conference, the Gin Kings are also expected to fare among the top teams come the Governors’ Cup.
So with those accounted for, it’s possible that the pick Ginebra traded to Phoenix will drop from anywhere between seventh and 10th picks in the first round.
What are the Fuel Masters’ option at that spot?
If the guard-heavy squad eyes an upgrade up front, Vince Tolentino from Ateneo, Michael Calisaan of San Sebastian, or Aris Dionisio from St. Clare are projected to be available late in the first round of the draft.
Losing Chan opens up a spot in the wings, which a Javee Mocon of San Beda or an MJ Ayaay of Lyceum could easily slip into.
Normally, teams tend to settle for the best talent available in the lower half of the first round, and that's where guards like UP’s Paul Desiderio, NU’s J-Jay Alejandro, Adamson’s Robbie Manalang, or Fil-Am slasher Trevis Jackson will likely be picked.
Now, we go back to the root of it all: is the young talent Ginebra let go of equal worth as veteran marksman Jeff Chan?
It’s a question only time can tell.
For now, the Gin Kings will have the benefit of adding the 34-year-old forward to its army of three-point shooters, which currently ranks seventh in the league with their 30-percent clip from beyond the arc.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has its sights set on the big picture, entrusting its future to the next batch of league newcomers.