JOHN Pinto is set to take his act to Phoenix after playing what was easily the finest season of his PBA career last year with Blackwater.
After failing to reach an agreement for a new contract with the Elite, the stocky guard out of Arellano University was traded on Saturday to Phoenix in exchange for young guard Gelo Alolino and big man Joseph Eriobu, SPIN.ph learned from multiple sources.
Trade papers will be sent to the league office by Monday, a week before the new season kicks off with the ushering of the Philippine Cup at the Philippine Arena.
Pinto has been a steady force at the backcourt for Blackwater the past two seasons, although the last one was his best after averaging 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting a high 52.2 percent from three-point range to earn a second look as possible Most Improved Player of the year.
The numbers gave Pinto the leeway to ask for a career security and wanted a three-year contract with the Elite.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but one in which the 28-year-old guard from Davao City would've been set to receive P350,000 in the final year of the contract.
Blackwater management reportedly balked at the proposal, and wanted to give Pinto an initial two-year offer to be extended and raised if he performs well during that span.
The bargaining reached a stalemate as the league's 44th season draws near.
Pinto had not attended Blackwater practices at the start of the year, and was later seen practicing with NorthPort the past two days. The former GlobalPort franchise picked Pinto in the second round (19th overall) during the 2014 draft and played with the team during his rookie year.
Phoenix coach Louie Alas has been vocal about wanting the 5-foot-11 Pinto in his team to handle the backcourt along with LA Revilla and RJ Jazul.