TALK ‘N Text’s drive for a fourth successive PBA Philippine Cup title got a huge boost after acquiring sweet-shooting forward Nino Canaleta from Air21 in exchange for forward Sean Anthony, rookie guard Eliud Poligrates, and the Tropang Texters’ 2016 first-round pick.
The arrival of Canaleta, Air21’s leading scorer last season, injects a solid scoring threat to a Talk ‘N Text squad that looked vulnerable towards the latter part of the second round of the eliminations until it came to life in a 103-79 win over leader Barangay Ginebra on Sunday.
The three-player deal was approved by PBA commissioner Chito Salud on Monday, just in time for the 12 noon trade deadline set by the league.
Canaleta, a many-time slam-dunk champion who has improved his perimeter game by leaps and bounds in recent years, should be a big boost to the offense of the Tropang Texters, who emerged the No. 4 seeds in the quarterfinals with their 8-6 win-loss record.
However, coach Norman Black will have only a few days to break the 6-6 Canaleta into his rotation prior to the Texters' best-of-three quarterfinals against fifth seed San Mig.
Canaleta, last season’s Most Improved Player, averaged 16.5 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Express this conference where Air21 tumbled out of contention with an anemic 3-11 win-loss record.
With the trade, the high-leaper finds himself suddenly seeing action in the playoffs.
On the other hand, Cebuano Poligrates, taken with the 27th pick overall by Talk 'N Text in this year's draft, gives the Express the legitimate point guard they sorely lacked in the season-opening conference.
Anthony normed 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.0 assist in more than 18 minutes of action for Talk ‘N Text this season.