BOCAUE – John Pinto is now officially a Meralco Bolt.
Phoenix formalized its trade with Meralco involving the stocky guard that was approved by the PBA Commissioner’s Office just a day before the opening of the league’s 44th season Sunday at the Philippine Arena.
Pinto was acquired in exchange for big man Jason Ballesteros and the Bolts’ 2020 second round pick.
The former Arellano standout was immediately signed by Meralco for two years and had his first practice with the team also on Sunday.
He likewise joined the Bolts during the traditional parade of teams during the season opening ceremony.
Pinto is just grateful still having a team to play this year after failing to reach a contract deal with Blackwater during the off-season.
The fall-out with the Elite, with which he had his best season as a pro last 2018, eventually led to him being shipped to Phoenix.
"Masaya kasi may nagtitiwala pa rin sa akin na team," said Pinto as he was about to leave the playing venue in Bulacan. "Blessed ako kasi binigay sa akin yung deserved na para sa akin."
He's only thankful for the breaks that he had gotten during his three-year stay at Blackwater.
"Wala naman. Dito sa trabaho namin, wala namang permanente dito," he said. "Kung saan ako na team maglalaro na lang ako para maipakita ko naman na deserving ako."