IT was a difficult decision to break up the core and tinekr with the chemistry of a Barangay Ginebra team that produced two PBA championships in the last two seasons.
But if there’s a downside, there’s definitely an upside to it.
Although saddened by the departure of Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer, and Jervy Cruz for NorthPort,Tim Cone sees an added explosion to the Kings’ backcourt following the acquisition of Stanley Pringle in a blockbuster trade consummated by the two teams on Tuesday.
Cone is thrilled over the prospect of Pringle teaming up with young Scottie Thompson at the backcourt in a bursting display of quickness and athleticism.
“We really think he’ll (Pringle) pair well with LA (Tenorio) and Scottie in the backcourt, and help us spread the floor for Greg (Slaughter) and Japeth (Aguilar),” said Cone moments after the Commissioner’s Office approved the biggest trade so far this season.
Age and health concerns however, are issues facing Pringle.
The Fil-Am guard is now 32 and just came from an operation to remove bone spurs on his foot, giving Cone reason to be a bit cautious on his fitness.
“We just have to get him healthy, and keep him healthy,” he said.
Cone became emotional when asked about the price the Kings had to pay in acquiring last year’s scoring leader, who’s considered one of the best one-on-one players in the PBA today.
“It was really tough for us to part with these three guys. They were a huge part of our team chemistry,” he said.
Mercado and Cruz were part of all three championships Ginebra won since Cone took over the coaching reins in 2015, while Ferrer came in back in 2017 as a rookie from the special draft and won two titles with the franchise.
Cone had special words for Mercado, who he hails as the premiere backcourt stopper in the league and ‘an incredible leader in the locker room.’
The Ginebra coach described Ferrer as "one of the good young developing shooters" in the PBA today, adding everyone knows how a player as good as Cruz is ‘stuck behind Greg (Slaughter), Japeth (Aguilar), and Joe (Devance)' in Ginebra's frontline.