IN a trade which Tim Cone said broke his heart, San Mig Coffee is sending its scrappy starting point guard Josh Urbiztondo to Barako Bull for a first-round pick in next season’s PBA rookie draft.
The trade, subject to the approval of the Commissioner’s Office, actually makes sense for both teams since San Mig has a surplus of point guards with Jonas Villanueva, Mark Barroca and Urbiztondo while Barako has suddenly become thin in that position after the departure of Willie Miller and Wynne Arboleda.
The Mixers are also getting former Ateneo star Wesley Gonzales as part of the three-team deal also involving sister team Petron, which, sources said, will get Barako Bull's second round picks in 2013 and 2014.
However, Cone said it still pained him to let go of Urbiztondo, an undrafted Fil-American point guard who defied all expectations by finishing second to Rico Maierhofer in the 2010 Rookie of the Year race and blossomed during Cone’s first season with the Mixers.
“(It was) hard for me because I loved Josh and I thought he represented our organization extremely well,” Cone said. “It would have been tough to trade any of our point guards, but Josh was the hardest because of my personal relationship with him.”
Urbiztondo took to Twitter to say his goodbyes to the team in the early hours of Friday, tweeting: “Thanks to SMC and BMEG for everything and your services! It was an honor playing for such a classy organization!!!”
He followed with two more posts on his account @jurb2: “We had a great run to a CHAMPIONSHIP and BACK TO BACK finals appearance in the year I was acquired! An experience I will never forget!!!”
By giving up his starter at the point guard position for much of last season, Cone said San Mig was able to secure its future by getting one of Barako Bull’s first-round draft picks next season.
“It was a heartbreaking decision but one that we had to make to secure our future since we didn’t have draft picks in 2013 and 2014. Barako had a bunch of picks and lacked a veteran point guard and we had a lot of depth in that position,” said Cone.
Now the Mixers need Villanueva and Barroca need to step up on a consistent basis to fill the gap left by Urbiztondo, who averaged 6.9 points per game (fifth-best among San Mig’s locals), 3.3 rebounds and a team-best 2.9 assists last season.
Starting 55 of the Mixers’ 62 games, he also hit 32.1 percent of his three-point shots while averaging 25.8 minutes on the floor.