With slight tweak, PBA approves controversial Perez trade; league also set to OK Belo-Amer swap
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) approved on Tuesday the trade sending talented CJ Perez to San Miguel Beer and is expected yet another deal that will send Blackwater star forward Mac Belo to Meralco for point guard Baser Amer.
The league’s trade committee approved Perez’s transfer to San Miguel Beer in exchange for reserves Gelo Alolino, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Russel Escoto and the Beermen’s No. 8 pick in this year’s Rookie Draft. The committee also added San Miguel’s 2022 first-rounder in the mix.
The Meralco-Blackwater swap is also expected to sail through with little to no modification, a source told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
“If it will be modified, the addition will be very minimal,” said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the trade committee was still looking over the proposed deal.
The Beermen’s acquisition of Perez drew strong rebuke from basketball fans, especially since the powerhouse squad didn’t need to give away a core rotation player in exchange for the 2019 Rookie of the Year. Perez averaged 24.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game in the all-Filipino bubble last year and was in contention for the Best Player of the Conference trophy.
But officials from Terrafirma had come to the rescue of the deal, saying the franchise got what it wanted for its star.
On Tuesday, Dyip head coach Johnedel Cardel said his rotation got deeper and his defense better with the deal.
“We got deeper. The reason why they’re in the PBA is because they’re good enough to be in the league,” Cardel said, referring to Alolino, Escoto and Ganuelas-Rosser. “We now have the length that will help us big time defensively to compete against the strong teams.”
Cardel thinks his new additions will flourish at Terrafirma by giving them enough exposure on the court just like what happened with one of his mainstays in former San Miguel player Rashawn McCarthy, who has been solid since his move to the Columbian franchise in 2017 as part of another disputed trade centered around the rights to the top overall pick.
“They will blossom given a chance to play. I just need to give them playing time and confidence. It’s the same thing that’s happened to McCarthy,” Cardel said. “The attitude is already there.”
Cardel and Terrafirma governor Bobby Rosales also agreed the key to the trade was San Miguel’s first-round pick in a draft that is being described as the deepest in years.
“Of course it’s hard to give up CJ but the upcoming draft could turn out to be the deepest draft in the history of the league,” said Cardel.
Rosales said the absence of a second-round pick for the squad was crucial since the Dyip were looking for ways to grab as many rookies from inside the top 12 picks.
Among the top picks Terrafirma is considering are 3×3 star Joshua Munzon and Jamie Malonzo, the former La Salle standout in the UAAP.
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