PHOENIX is set to sit down and try to strike a deal with new acquisition John Pinto in the hope of putting him in its lineup in time for the PBA Philippine Cup opener.
At the same time, trade remains an option if the two parties fail to reach an agreement.
As much as the Fuel Masters welcome the addition of the highly-improved guard, the team still has to see how negotiations with Pinto’s side will turn out.
“We haven’t talked to him yet. Galing lang kasi kami sa team building when the trade materialized. But we have the rights on him now,” said Phoenix board of governor Atty. Raymund Zorilla.
“We’ll still have to negotiate with him, so we’ll see.”
Pinto failed to reach an agreement with Blackwater on a new contract, prompting the trade with Phoenix in exchange for big man Joseph Eriobu.
Zorilla didn’t discount the possibility of moving the former Arellano standout should the two parties fail to reach a compromise.
“That depends on the negotiations. We’ll present him an offer and see how things play out,” said the Phoenix official.
The statement of the top Phoenix official came on the heels of talk about NorthPort's interest in Pinto, who actually practiced with the Batang Pier for two days prior to being traded by Blackwater to Phoenix.
But Zorilloa admitted Pinto will be a very good addition to the Phoenix backcourt being manned by LA Revilla, RJ Jazul, and Mike Gamboa.
Pinto had a breakout season with the Elite, averaging 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 34 games. He was also the team’s best three-point shooter with a 52.5 percent clip from beyond the arc.