RICO Maierhofer and Sol Mercado are set to fortify San Miguel Beer's reshuffled ballclub beginning in the PBA Commissioner's Cup after the league approved a complex four-team trade that also involved GlobalPort, Barako Bull, and Air21 on Tuesday afternoon.
Under the revised deal that took out Yousef Taha from the transaction owing to a technicality, the series of trades started with San Miguel, formerly Petron, acquiring Maierhofer from Barako Bull in exchange for Jason Deutchman and the Beermen's second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
San Miguel then added Mercado to its pool of stars in a straight swap with GlobalPort for guard Alex Cabagnot.
In the third step, Barako Bull acquired veteran wingman Leo Najorda from GlobalPort in exchange for guard Jonas Villanueva, who was traded by the Batang Pier to Air21 for Bondon Custodio.
Despite its failure to get GlobalPort rookie Justin Chua after Taha was taken out of the trade equation that prohibits players from returning to their former ballclubs until after two conferences, San Miguel was still the clear winner in the complex series of transactions.
Maierhofer is set to boost a San Miguel frontline that depended too much on June Mar Fajardo in the Philippine Cup semifinal series against Rain or Shine while Mercado will be reunited with pal Chris Ross, who will now be tasked to run the team from the point guard position.
On the other hand, GlobalPort will now have a veteran hand to run the offense in Cabagnot after a deal that looked more like votes of confidence for young Batang Pier guards Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia.