Cerebral point guard Mike Cortez is going to join a Barangay Ginebra squad, which has a star-studded guard unit composed of a two-time Most Valuable Player, a reigning MVP, a former Rookie of the Year and a member of the PBA’s All-Defensive team.
Air21 team manager and Philippine Basketball Association chairman Lito Alvarez told GMANews.TV that the one-on-one trade between Cortez and slotman Billy Bamaril that was on table for the past few days, is finally pushing through.
Alvarez admitted that he’s pursuing the services of Mamaril to address the team’s need of a solid frontliner.
Air21 coach Yeng Guiao said that the one-on-one trade is fair enough and indeed beneficial for his team.
“We really need an additional frontliner. We have a shallow frontline. We have big guys on our lineup, but there’s no one capable of carrying us in the long stretches. Mamaril’s inclusion will certainly boost our frontline," said Guiao.
Prior to the trade, second year forward Beau Belga is the main frontliner of the Express along with Carlo Sharma, veteran Rich Alvarez, rookie Ronnie Matias, Doug Kramer and import LeRoy Hickerson.
The Express can now afford to unload the 5-foot-10 guard from La Salle with the return of Wynne Arboleda, who was suspended for the rest of the season, but was reinstated by PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios after the national elections.
Aside from Arboleda, the Express also have Ronjay Buenafe, Ren-Ren Ritualo and veteran spitfire Egay Billones.
The Gin Kings, who have a star-studded guard rotation composed of two-time MVP Willie Miller, reigning MVP Jayjay Helterbrand, former Rookie of the Year Mark Caguioa, energetic Ronald Tubid and veteran Celino Cruz, need to make room for the player known as The Cool Cat.
“Our team is not getting any younger, we’re like the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA," said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico in the previous interview. “We want somebody who can come in and get his share of minutes from Jayjay and Mark. We want somebody who can come in, but will not affect the team’s quality of play."
"Mike is definitely a welcome addition," he added.
The Gin Kings can let go of Mamaril as they have an import, Denham Brown, capable of playing both forward spots and big men like Enrico Villanueva, Yancy de Ocampo and veteran Eric Menk, who can alternately play the center spot. The team also welcomed the return of do-it-all forward Rudy Hatfield just recently. - Rey Joble, GMANews.TV