MANILA, Philippines — As dust slowly settles from the swirling trades that blanketed the Philippine Basketball Association a few days ago, which of the ballclubs showed foresight in wheeling-and-dealing and which ones got blindsided and fell prey to the sweet talk of those who came bearing gifts?
From the onset, Barangay Ginebra looks like a frontrunner among the beneficiaries of player movements after it landed point guard LA Tenorio from the Alaska Aces following a complicated maneuver that involved two other teams.
But is it?
Tenorio joining Mike Cortez, Jayjay Helterbrand and Rob Labagala at the backcourt strengthens not only that position but also turns the Kings into a guard-saddled fortress where playmakers will be fighting for minutes for the chance to distribute the ball and produce highlights worthy of making it to the Top 10 plays on TV.
Siot Tanquingcen, the Ginebra coach, will be able to test his juggling skills as soon as the 38th season takes off. In fact, already he has been talking of “sacrifices” and “adjustments” players will have to make.
Tanquingcen could be referring to Tenorio, the guy he dealt away when both of them were still with San Miguel a few years back. But he could just as well be addressing his holdover point guards in preparation for LA Confidential’s eventual takeover at the starting spot.
Tenorio had never been shy about admitting how much he was affected by the departure of former Alaska coach and now B-Meg mentor Tim Cone, who had nurtured his career after a lackluster rookie season with the Beermen.
How well he and Tanquingcen can work things out to make Tenorio set aside thoughts of a reunion with Cone and his triangle offense should manifest itself right in the Philippine Cup.
“He’s a big piece in our plan to contend for a finals slot,” said Tanquingcen. “But it’s very early in the pre-season to say anything because like any deal, the player will have to adjust to the system.”
JV Casio, the 2011 No. 1 draft pick, should have no problem adjusting to the system of Alaska coach Luigi Trillo after Casio’s stint at Powerade.
Unlike Tenorio, whose heart apparently went out Alaska’s door with Cone, Casio has no baggage to deal with and should thrive at the corporate-like atmosphere of the ultra-organized Aces, something akin to how former Tigers governor JB Baylon ran things at Powerade.
The successful title quest of underdog team Rain or Shine and the entry of a new team in Global Port are expected to firm up competition and make the games more exciting when the 38th season of the PBA kicks off beginning Sept. 30.
League commissioner Chito Salud singled out both franchises as possible contenders capable of giving the regular PBA top guns a run for their money in the coming new season.
The Elasto Painters already proved their worth in the last Governors Cup when they stunned favorite B-Meg Llamados (now San Mig Coffee) in the deciding Game 7 of the Finals to win their breakthrough championship.