SCOTTIE Thompson and Aljon Mariano are moving on after the trade that brought Stanley Pringle to Barangay Ginebra led to their close friend Kevin Ferrer being shipped away to NorthPort.
Ferrer along with Sol Mercado and Jervy Cruz formed the package that Ginebra sent to NorthPort to get its hands on Pringle, ending the former University of Santo Tomas standout's three-year stint with the Gin Kings.
Thompson and Mariano admitted they were also saddened by the trade, more so because it was their close friend who had to say goodbye.
“Unang una, nasaktan kasi tagal na rin ng pinagsamahan namin,” said Thompson. “Almost four years. I think for me, hindi pa ako sanay especially kay Kevin. Sobrang close na kami. Masakit pero happy ako sa kanya kasi alam ko ‘yung opportunity nila doon.”
Mariano said of his former University of Santo Tomas teammate: “Tagal ko na siya kasama, since college. Ilang years na kami magkakampi. Siyempre, nung una, nalungkot ako kasi iba ‘yung araw-araw mo kasama eh. Mababago ‘yun kasi hindi na namin siya araw-araw makakasama. Makikita lang namin siya sa games.”
Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone is well are of the friendship the three players have forged during their time together in the league's most popular team.
“Kevin, Scottie, and Aljon are the ‘Three Musketeers’ of our team. Three of them are inseparable. We broke up the Three Musketeers. It was a tough, tough trade. But down the line, it will prove to be a good one for us,” Cone said.
Sad as they were with the parting, Thompson and Mariano are also excited for Ferrer, who they believe will be getting a better opportunity at NorthPort.
“Alam ko mas mapapakita nila ‘yung game nila especially si Kevin, happy ako for him. Mapapakita niya ‘yung full potential niya as a basketball player,” Thompson said.
Mariano said his reunion with former UST coach Pido Jarencio will definitely boost Ferrer's career.
“Alam naman natin, coach Pido rin ‘yung coach doon. Tingin ko, better for him na napunta siya doon at marami pa siyang mapapakita talaga kapag nandoon siya,” said Mariano.
Thompson and Mariano said they spoke with Ferrer hours after the trade was made official. Aside from the three players, their respective girlfriends have also developed a friendship.
“Kahapon nung lumabas ‘yung balita, lumabas kami ni Aljon at ‘yung mga girlfriends namin,” Thompson said. “Lumabas kami kagabi, nag-dinner kami, usap. Nagkuwentuhan lang, motivation sa kanila, and then, talagang nakakalungkot especially sa mga girlfriends namin especially sa girlfriend ni Kevin kasi adjustment sa kanya.
“‘Yun ang pinaka-crucial doon. Kung maapektuhan ‘yung girlfriend ni Kevin, apektado din si Kevin. Pero looking forward naman ako na magiging maayos ang lahat,” said Thompson.
Thompson and Mariano, however, made it clear they are also happy to have Pringle in the roster.
“Alam naman natin ‘yung laro niya, all-around eh. Siyempre, talagang malaking tulong siya sa team. Marami siyang skills na puwede niya maitulong, hindi lang sa offense. Siguro lahat magiging better players around him,” said Mariano.
Thompson added: “Looking forward ako sa magiging combination namin ni Stanley. Excited ako makalaro siya. Kalaban namin siya, sobrang hirap. Siguro sa akin, bawas pagod sa akin dahil nandito na sa amin."