Wanting to stay competitive for many years to come, Barangay Ginebra on Tuesday pulled out a post-Draft trade that had the Gin Kings addressing a position where they have aging stars.
The injured Jeremiah Gray, selected as the second overall choice by Terrafirma on Sunday, found his way to the Kings’ lair after the Dyip shipped him for No. 8 pick Javi Gomez de Liaño and unheralded sophomore Brian Enriquez.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone said the team is willing to take a chance on Gray’s injured knee as even his delayed arrival can certainly shore up their stock with the likes of Jeff Chan, Jared Dillinger and the 40-year-old Joe Devance needing support at the forward spot.
Recovering in the US
“Jeremiah is a talent we’re ready to wait for,” Cone told the Inquirer shortly after the league officially cleared the swap. Gray wasn’t able to attend the Draft because he is still in the United States recovering from an ACL operation.
“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,” Cone explained.
Another trade was actually approved earlier by the Commissioner’s Office, one that had No. 7 Tyrus Hill and Dave Murrell moving from NLEX to Converge for the new team’s first round pick next year.
Hill and Murrell are set to join holdovers from the last Alaska squad that disbanded after 36 glorious years last season. The FiberXers tabbed big men Jeo Ambohot and Justin Arana as the third and fourth selections in the Draft, respectively.
Cone said that both teams got what they wanted in the trade that was initiated by the doormat Dyip.
“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 for him,” Cone said.
Enriquez was picked 13th overall by the Kings last year and played only 13 games the entire season. Still, Cone feels that the Dyip have a diamond in the rough in the young forward.
Towering front line
“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,” Cone said.
Ginebra won the Governors’ Cup last season at the expense of Meralco, doing with without Pringle and a lineup that is one of the oldest in the league.
With Pringle set to return when the 47th Season starts on June 5, Ginebra will still be a loaded lot with Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger still there to provide an imposing front line.
TNT will defend the Philippine Cup and San Miguel Beer will continue to be a force there with June Mar Fajardo rounding out to Most Valuable Player form once again.
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