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    Gabby Espinas not idle for long as Meralco signs free agent forward

    Jan 8, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    GABBY Espinas is not without a team for long in the 44th PBA season.

    Shortly after being released unconditionally by NorthPort, the veteran forward was immediately tabbed from the free agent market by Meralco.

    The 37-year-old veteran's signing on Tuesday was confirmed by team manager Paolo Trillo.

    Meralco board of governor Al Panlilio, who is also president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said Espina’s experience and size will be a welcome addition to the team's frontline.

    “We’re able to sign up Gabby Espinas to strengthen our big men,” said Panlilio, although he was quick to add that the former PCU standout is coming off surgery on his knee and won’t be available at least until February.

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    The Bolts also signed up rookies Trevis Jackson and Bong Quinto.

    “We still don’t have the height, but as I’ve said, hopefully we can get it in speed and better shooting. Laban lang talaga,” said Panlilio.

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    Trillo added the Espinas signing came at an appropriate time as back-up big man Jason Ballesteros suffered an ACL injury and could be out for two conferences.

    The Meralco team manager said Ballesteros went down with the injury during the Bolts' practice.

    Espinas was among the players released by NorthPort from last year’s roster along with guards Jeric Teng and Jeric Fortuna.

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    The first NCAA Rookie-MVP out of Philippine Christian University was traded to the Batang Pier by San Miguel Beermen in exchange for enigmatic forward Kelly Nabong.

    He averaged 2.6 points and 3.1 rebounds last season.

    A first round pick by the Beermen in the 2006 draft (5th overall), Espinas is a six-time champion, winning one title with Alaska and five with San Miguel.

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    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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