Help is on the way
Needing to fill his bench in a hurry, NorthPort got three reliables and let go of Stanley Pringle to Barangay Ginebra in a blockbuster trade that coach Pido Jarencio believes will benefit his Batang Pier in the long term.
“We were short of men, and this deal [with Ginebra] was available,” Jarencio said, although he still won’t be able to use Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer and Jervy Cruz when NorthPort slugs it out with Rain or Shine on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
NorthPort will be suiting up just eight healthy men against the Elasto Painters in their 4:30 p.m. tiff—plus a less-than-100 percent Ryan Araña if the need arises—as the Batang Pier shoot for a third straight win to move closer to a playoff berth.
The Gin Kings, meanwhile, will get a big boost in firepower with the arrival of Pringle, although the shifty playmaker is still nursing a foot injury, one that has kept him out of service for NorthPort in this conference.
To acquire him, they lost a dependable backup guard often tasked to defend against imports in Mercado, a promising forward in Ferrer and a reliable rotation big in Cruz.
Jonathan Grey became the latest NorthPort casualty, suffering a freak injury after practice last Saturday with the Batang Pier having five games left in the eliminations as they chase a top two berth.
“I guess we will continue to make do with what we have,” Jarencio said as he admitted having difficulty scrimmaging because of their manpower woes.
The trio that Jarencio acquired still won’t be available because the trade wasn’t approved in time. But the players he acquired should help the Batang Pier’s goal this conference.
“We’ve made it no secret that we won’t be satisfied by just making the playoffs,” Jarencio said. “We want to contend for a championship. That has been the target since the start.”
Grey, who missed a dunk attempt after practice over the weekend and landed awkwardly, tore his patella because of that and is expected to be out for six months at the most.