SMC teams playing the trade game flawlessly

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The latest rounds of trades in the Philippine Basketball Association that favored the three San Miguel Corporation teams as well as the Talk N Text and Meralco ballclubs caught the ire of many die-hard basketball purists.

The obvious reason: they felt these trades are one-sided and destroyed parity among teams in the PBA.

Truthfully told, these trades show how the teams’ parity in the PBA is really unbalanced, not just on the floor but at the front office level. It shows how some teams build their rosters, eventually resulting to how good of a product they will parade on the hardcourt.

Now that things had settled down, let me refresh your minds on some of these trades to see if the general feeling still remains:

1) San Miguel Beer traded Russel Escoto, Gelo Alolino, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, the 2021 8th pick and its 2023 first round pick to Terrafirma for CJ Perez

This is still lopsided by all means. The trade, however, just showed how the teams involved treat their PBA campaigns.

Terrafirma showed in the past how it treats “superstars” like Manny Pacquiao, Christian Standhardinger, Perez, among others. The reasons why they hire or let go of these type of players are unclear. It’s just how they are as their past actions suggest.

Meanwhile, no one should fault San Miguel for accepting, or even proposing, this trade. Well. It takes two to tango as the saying goes. The Beermen are just doing the same thing they had been doing in the past. They know exactly what they want in forming a team and it normally results to one that could make a run for multiple championships. Getting Perez for what they gave up is just another example of this.

They are even not afraid to correct their mistakes along the way. The Standhardinger trade they got was definitely a steal but it was a wrong move. C-stand is not a good piece to pair with June Mar Fajardo because they play alike at the same position.

When they realized it, it did not take long for them to go and get another player who could play power forward and center but is a better running mate of “The Kraken” in Moala Tautuaa.

2) Magnolia traded Chris Banchero and their first and second-round picks to Phoenix for Calvin Abueva and Phoenix’s first-round pick

Well, this trade is more or less fair as decided by the teams involved. This trade is more than just hardcourt action and both teams involved got to do what they think they should at moment.

Phoenix admitted difficulty in keeping the Beast’s actions and activities outside the court that are detrimental to the team under control. That made them acquire what many see as less talent for their all-around forward. But by all no means Banchero is far lesser of a player that Abueva. He is a superstar in his own right and his combination with Matthew Wright could become the PBA’s version of a Steph Curry – Klay Thompson combo when it comes to shooting the basketball.

Magnolia, on the other hand, is willing to gamble that the talent of Abueva far outweighs his off-court antics. Doing the trade also means they make their team more balanced by getting rid one component of their talented but overloaded backourt. In fact, they might even need to trim it more.

3) Ginebra traded  Greg Slaughter to Northport Batang Pier for Christian Standhardinger

In  a vacuum, this is another more or less fair trade on the surface for all intents and purposes. Both players are legit franchise players that could lead their new teams to deep playoff runs.

However, the fact that Standhardinger probably would have more impact on Ginebra’s championship quest when compared to Slaughter for Northport should not be ignored.

C-Stand is set to give Ginebra a ton of benefits.

He allows the Barangay to change its slow center who duplicates the playing style of its resident power forward for a tougher, more mobile inside operator who perfectly complements the rest of the Gins’ starting unit.

Ginebra can maximize Japeth Aguilar at power forward with C-Stand playing center. They will form a mobile twin tower combination which can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor.

Aguilar can offensively take advantage of his consistent perimeter shot and could cheat on defense to go for blocking shots, something he normally couldn’t do while playing center.

Standhardinger’s presence also allows Ginebra to use a three-guard lineup during the Philippine Cup, putting an undersized Scottie Thompson at small forward.

During import-laden conferences, the Gins would simply slide Justin Brownlee in the same position for lineup with firepower and muscle.

Meanwhile, Slaughter gives Northport the inside presence it desires, as well as a stretch five big if he indeed developed a reliable outside shot as seen in his recent videos.

Pending actual results, it is however a suspect if Slaughter can carry the Batang Pier to multiple levels higher than they were while Standhardinger was there.

Neither can he match what Standhardinger could do for Ginebra in terms of challenging for multiple titles and deep playoff runs in the next four to five years.

By: Armando M. Bolislis

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