Phoenix upbeat after getting ‘superstar’ Banchero, draft picks
MANILA, Philippines — Phoenix believes it landed a superstar in Chris Banchero while also acquiring valuable assets in return.
In a shocking move, the Fuel Masters shipped energetic forward Calvin Abueva and the rights to the 10th overall pick in next month’s PBA Draft to Magnolia for Banchero and the Hotshots’ sixth and 18th overall picks.
The PBA approved the trade Wednesday.
“It was not an easy decision to let go of a player like Calvin, considering he has been through thick and thin with Phoenix,” Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia said in a statement.
“Yet, at the same time, we are excited to acquire a first-round pick from a very deep draft, and together with Chris Banchero, who is a superstar in his own right, the team has a great opportunity to grow in the years to come.”
This year’s draft class is deemed by many as one of the richest in league history.
Banchero, a 6-foot-1 guard, averaged 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists in less than 27 minutes as part of Magnolia’s guard-heavy lineup in the Philippine Cup bubble.
Abueva, meanwhile, finally came back from a lengthy suspension and picked up where he left off, helping the Fuel Masters come just a win short of making the finals last season.
The 33-year-old Abueva, who has turned over a new leaf after gaining a bad reputation for his antics, averaged 13.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.3 steals in the bubble.
Abueva just signed a three-year contract extension with Phoenix last December.