ON the surface, Yeng Guiao finding a little help from his former players in a mini-reunion at NLEX definitely makes for a feel-good story.
But it’s Globalport which scored a homerun in the PBA four-team trade consummated on Saturday.
The Batang Pier gave up quality players in JR Quinahan and Anthony Semerad – plus two future second-round picks – but got youth and athleticism in return in Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto, and rising rookie Jonathan Grey.
Anthony and Guinto are expected to give the team brute force and the inside game Globalport has been lacking this season to complement the explosive backcourt of Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo.
Grey could also spell Romeo some minutes off the bench especially with health still an issue for the league’s two-time scoring champion.
Coach Franz Pumaren is obviously satisfied with what the team has acquired following the addition and subtraction out of the trade.
“Sean will give us the experience, leadership, and can play the 3 and 4 spots,” said Pumaren of Anthony, who was a protégée of his during the time he was still coach of Air21.
“Bradwyn and Jonathan will give us depth and flexibility.”
Semerad ended up with TnT Katropa, which also reacquired a 2017 first-round pick in giving up veteran gunner Larry Fonacier in the trade.
The shooting forward from San Beda is obviously younger, athletic, and also possesses good shooting from the perimeter. Although Semerad is yet to prove himself a winner as a pro unlike Fonacier, the 26-year-old cager could be a sound investment for the Texters.
It was a sad parting of ways between Fonacier and the Texters, who had been through a lot of battles together that saw them win a total of five championships.
But the future is indeed, a concern for the proud franchise. Fonacier is already 34, while the likes of big men Ranidel de Ocampo (35), Harvey Carey (38), and guard Ryan Reyes (33) are not getting any younger either.
Too bad, management had to break the news to Fonacier on the night he saved the Texters from a major San Miguel comeback in the end game to pull off a rousing 112-103 win in the Commissioner’s Cup.
“A memorable (farewell) game,” noted team manager Virgil Villavicencio.
NLEX obviously badly needs a win that it has been busy wheeling and dealing its players the past few days. The Road Warriors began their house cleaning by letting go of young guns Eric Camson and Glenn Khobuntin to acquire big Fil-Am guard Alex Mallari, before going after Quinahan and Fonacier – along with a couple of second round future picks - by giving up Garvo Lanete, Guinto and Anthony.
Both Quinahan (32) and Fonacier aren’t franchise-type players, although their experience and winning pedigree are what the lowly Road Warriors need these days especially when victories have been hard to come by for the team.
The two had previously played for Guiao at Red Bull and Rain or Shine, respectively, which meant little time needed for them to adjust to the system of the fiery mentor.
Out of the trades pulled off, the deal involving Quinahan and Fonacier is the one that should be under the microscope, especially if victories would continue to elude the Road Warriors in their coming campaigns.
Meralco acquired a young shooter in Lanete that completed a backcourt rotation made up of former San Beda players that also includes the ever-improving Baser Amer, and Anjo Caram.
Grey is a good prospect for a rookie, who had shown flashes of brilliance in the few times he would be fielded by coach Norman Black.
But he had to compete for playing time at Meralco with fellow rookie Ed Daquioag as well as Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome, Jonathan Uyloan, Joseph Yeo, and Jared Dillinger, making him a good trade bait to teams which can utilize him more.
Overall, all four teams got away with what they really need. No one is a loser here.
No doubt however, Globalport was the biggest winner as the Batang Pier got younger, stronger, and better.