LIKE any other trade, it was a gamble on Phoenix’s part to part ways with veteran Jeff Chan in exchange for an unknown commodity in the coming PBA rookie draft.
The Fuel Masters however, are willing to take that risk.
“We have to think that first round (pick) is still first round (pick),” said coach Louie Alas as he talked about the one-on-one trade consummated by Phoenix and Barangay Ginebra on Monday morning involving Chan and the Kings’ first-round pick in the 2018 draft.
“Yes, sugal din yun. Puwedeng magandang-maganda (ang makuha namin) or maganda lang,” he stressed. “But for sure, hindi siya pangit.”
Alas considered the players likely to make themselves available in the draft later this year prior to the trade. So far, he expects the rookie class is guard-heavy, rattling off the names of such talent as Bobby Ray Parks, Robert Bolick, and CJ Perez.
He mentioned Abu Tratter and Arvin Tolentino as among the big men who could possibly throw their hats to the pool.
“At this point, hindi pa masyadong deep (yung draft). Wala pang (solid) na big man,” said the Phoenix coach.
If the draft was to be held today, Alas said the Fuel Masters' original draft pick would land inside the Top 5, even in the event the team manages to make the playoffs of the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.
As for the pick Phoenix received from Ginebra, Alas expects it to come late in the first round, possibly at No. 9 or No. 10.
“Two first-round picks out of the first 10,” he said. “It’s really a gamble, but hopefully, a winning one.”
Phoenix selected Jason Perkins with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft - a talent coveted by not a few teams leading to several trade offers in exchange for the services of the Fil-Am forward out of La Salle.
Just a year before, the Fuel Masters got Matthew Wright from the cadets pool and Gelo Alolino out of the regular draft.
And before the start of the season – the team’s first under Alas – Phoenix traded for guard LA Revilla for rookie Jayson Grimaldo and a 2018 second round pick.
“We’re looking to the future. Two first round picks mean two extra bodies na bata,” said Alas on the rationale behind the Chan trade. “We’re investing sa young legs.”
At the same time, Alas said Chan’s exposure during games, which amounted to about 30 minutes on average per game, will be distributed to the team’s other veteran players.
“Yung playing time ni Jeff puwedeng i-divide kina JC (Intal), RJ (Jazul), or whoever is the next man up,” Alas added.