JUST two days after the PBA draft, San Mig Coffee sent rookie big man Justin Chua to Globalport in exchange for the Batang Pier’s own rookie draftee Isaac Holstein on Tuesday.
San Mig coach Tim Cone confirmed the deal, saying the Mixers had packaged No. 10 pick Chua with Leo Najorda to acquire the rights to Holstein, Globalport's No. 7 pick overall in Sunday's draft.
In explaining the deal, Cone said San Mig's loaded frontline would make it hard for Chua to progress in his first season and sees the former Ateneo mainstay getting a better opportunity with the Batang Pier.
“Yes, we actually traded Justin and Leo for Isaac Holstein because honestly, Globalport was just looking for someone who could contribute to their team right away,” Cone told Spin.ph.
“I mean, we have Ping (Marc Pingris), Rafi Reavis, Yancy de Ocampo, Ian Sangalang and Jewel Ponferada so Justin will have a real playing time crunch with us,” he said.
In contrast, the 6-7 Holstein can afford to spend some time developing under Cone's system while waiting for his own opportunity.
Cone admitted keeping an eye on the West Virginia University product before and after the draft.
“With Isaac, we have the time and patience to work with him because we’re a defensive team first. Isaac was our target all the time even after the draft,” added the multi-titled PBA mentor.
However, it is not yet clear if the trade for the two big men had been pre-arranged before the draft as part of a deal Globalport had with another San Miguel-owned team, Petron.
On Sunday, Globalport got the No. 5 pick overall by sending Yousef Taha to Petron, who had earlier acquired the draft pick from Barako Bull in a separate deal involving Mark Isip and Magi Sison.
[For full story, see Slaughter made top pick overall in surprise-filled draft]
Ironically, Globalport coach Junel Baculi had earlier told Spin.ph that the reason they passed up on Chua at No. 7 was because he is more like a "duplication" of Batang Pier mainstays Jay Washington and Jondan Salvador.
Now Chua is on Baculi's team.
[For full story, see Holstein a project for now but has tremendous potential, says Baculi]
The trade has been approved by the Commissioner's Office.