The PBA is on a break, and for the meantime, all eyes will be focused on Gilas Pilipinas and their much-awaited FIBA World Cup gig. All eyes — but each one has one eye looking for trades for their respective teams.
There are teams that want — and actually need — a slight overhaul. Some are stuck in a dead end, and their fans are getting impatient.
Alaska Aces to shuffle the deck?
This is one team that has given us a rich history of hard fought hoop wars. However, they seem to have hit a dead end. Their two top players in the last decade, JVee Casio and Sonny Thoss, are aging. They were supposed to have a new franchise player in Calvin Abueva but he ultimately wore out his welcome.
Now the Aces need to get dealt a new set of cards. They do not have a new player to build on. They have great pieces like Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero but they are still not exactly players to build a franchise around.
The dilemma for the Aces is that they are not good enough to win a title anymore, but they’re not bad enough to get a high draft pick. This is why there were talks on Chris Banchero possibly being on the move.
However, there are counter-reports that the trade may not push through. This year’s draft can yield a quality player even in the late first-round. It can work both ways—they can see Banchero as dispensable since they can easily find a capable guard. This year’s rookies showed that rookies can contribute right away. CJ Perez, Ray Parks, Jr. Robert Bolick and even JV Mocon all play major roles for their respective teams now.
The key, though, is what they can get for Banchero. There was speculation that the SMC teams would not touch the Ace guard. He used to play for San Miguel in the ABL, and apparently, he entered the PBA draft even if the SMC brass told him to wait.
If this is true, then Alaska may not have been satisfied with the returns for Banchero. The three SMC teams have desirable pieces and without them in the market, they have limited choices. There would also be less reason for other teams to make a strong offer if their main rivals are not participating in the bidding.
It’s better to keep Banchero if they are not getting good returns for him. The team would have to forego their rebuild and be patient again.
The Calvin Abueva gambit
The Phoenix Fuelmasters are reportedly shopping Calvin Abueva, and who can blame them. The problem is, there are few teams that want to take a risk, especially with the status of Abueva still up in the air with the indefinite suspension.
The suspension will be lifted on the condition that the Beast will be a lot less beastly. It would also help if he could resolve the allegations of domestic violence. No team would touch him as long as that is up in the air.
However, there is also the argument that now is the best time to cash in. Abueva is on a bargain because Phoenix needs solid players on the floor as they want to continue their ascent. We shouldn’t forget that they topped the elimination round in the All-Filipino.
These gambles can pay off. The best example is Terrence Romeo of the San Miguel Beermen. No one would touch him because there were leaks that he was not a good teammate, he disrupts the chemistry, etc.
(Pro tip to TNT: Perhaps it’s not a good idea to badmouth your player while you’re trading him. At the very least, keep it under wraps until you get good value).
SMB had assets to give and time to wait for Romeo to assimilate and establish good chemistry. They didn’t have to rush Romeo, and now they have another weapon in their arsenal.
Perhaps another SMC team can play the same gambit with Abueva. They can trade for him and wait for the suspension to pass. But Phoenix won’t have a fire sale just yet.