PBA: Ginebra gets Gray from Terrafirma for Gomez de Liano, Enriquez
MANILA, Philippines—Perennial title contender and crowd darling Barangay Ginebra was among the first teams to make personnel moves ahead of the Philippine Basketball Association’s 47th season.
The Gin Kings on Tuesday have agreed on a deal with Terrafirma to land Jeremiah Gray, the second overall pick of Sunday’s Rookie Draft, in exchange for Javi Gomez de Liaño and incoming sophomore Brian Enriquez.
Gray, who was drafted by league doormat Terrafirma, is currently nursing his knee in the United States, but head coach Tim Cone said that the 6-foo-5 forward’s rehabilitation is but a small inconvenience to the club, which is on a mission to reclaim the Philippine Cup.
“Jeremiah is a talent we’re ready to wait for,” he told the Inquirer shortly after the league officially cleared the swap.
“Reports are that he may be out a whole year from now, but he’s young and we’re an established team [that] can wait, especially with Stanley (Pringle’s) return,” he went on.
Cone was visibly high on Gomez de Liaño, a young prospect fresh off a stint in Japan, shortly after the Sunday’s event at Robinson’s Place in Manila. But Gray was simply too good an offer to pass up on.
“We really liked Javi and thought he might play an important role as a shooter for us, but Terrafirma really liked him as well and requested him,” Cone said.
“Brian is going to surprise a lot of people. He may be the steal in that trade. We will miss Brian. He was one of our hardest workers,” he added.
In Gray, the crowd darlings are getting an athletic 6-foot-5 forward who could very well be a welcome addition to their aging and ailing pool of forwards.
Sidney Onwwubere, Arvin Tolentino, Aljon Mariano, Jeff Chan are currently manning that position for Ginebra. 38-year-old Jarred Dillinger is still recovering from a knee injury, while 40-year-old Joe Devance was only able to return to action towards the end of last season’s Governor’s Cup Finals.
Gomez de Liaño was also one of the four players national cage program director and coach Chot Reyes made readily available for the Gilas duty.
Also making preseason moves are Converge and NLEX. The FiberXers are sending its first-round pick to the Road Warriors in exchange for No. 7 pick Tyrus Hill and seldom-used forward Dave Murell.
Hill and Murell are set to join holdovers from the last Alaska Aces squad, along with Jeo Ambohot and Justin Arana, two of the tallest locals of this year’s rookie class.