ALASKA has shipped veteran big man Gabby Espinas to GlobalPort for a younger Nonoy Baclao in a whirlwind transaction that was consummated on Saturday morning.
GlobalPort team manager Bonnie Tan said the entry of the 6-foot-4 Espinas gives the Batang Pier the much-needed defensive toughness they sorely lacked since joining the PBA in the 2013 season.
“Na-beat naman namin yung deadline at nakausap ko na rin si Com (Salud) over the phone kasi wala siya sa office, nasa Davao na siya and okay naman na ang trade,” Tan told Spin.ph on Saturday.
The deal will also involve Alaska getting the better pick between the Aces and the Batang Pier in the first round of the 2017 draft.
“Kung first pick ang makuha namin sa 2017, ipapalit namin yun for the lower first round pick ng Alaska,” added the amiable GlobalPort team manager.
Espinas, a vital cog in Alaska’s 2013 Commissioner’s Cup title conquest, was informed of the trade on Saturday morning, prompting him to leave the Gatorade Hoops Center in haste in order to catch the 1 p.m. GlobalPort practice at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center.
The 33-year-old Espinas is coming off a foot surgery last year that forced him to miss the entire Philippine Cup this season.
In the Commissioner’s Cup, Espinas is averaging career-low numbers of 3.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 12 minutes as Alaska coach Alex Compton eased him into the rotation.
On the other hand, the 27-year-old Baclao played just four games for GlobalPort this conference, averaging 0.5 point and 3.5 rebounds in just 10 minutes of action.
Baclao, the top pick in the 2010 PBA Rookie Draft, has yet to really find a team he could call his home in the pro league, having bounced from one team to the other in his first five seasons as a pro.
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle big man, a Finals MVP in the UAAP Season 71, will be playing for his fifth team in the PBA after previous stints with Air21, Petron Blaze/San Miguel Beer, Talk ‘N Text and GlobalPort.
Globalport expects to field Espinas in the game against NLEX on Sunday.