Itâ€™s a sad day to be a Purefoods fan. The TJ Giants have just traded the exciting Jean Marc Pingris to Magnolia for center Enrico Villanueva. As part of the deal, Magnolia will also received Chester Tolomia from Coca-Cola. The Tigers will receive shooter Mark Macapagal (and a future draft pick) from Brgy. Ginebra while the Gin Kings got the bull-strong Willie Wilson from Magnolia.
The trade was spurred by the sidelining of Purefoods center Rommel Adducul. The 6-6 ex-San Sebastian standout is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment after having been diagnosed with nasopharynx cancer. The timetable for his return is still indefinite and will depend on how well he responds to treatment.
Without a legitimate center in the lineup, the Giants didn’t have any choice but to trade for Villanueva. The addition of “The Raging Bull” will give the Giants additional scoring option at the number 5 position, something the team never had since the days of Jerry Codinera and Ramon Fernandez. On the other end, they will also lose one of the teamâ€™s best rebounder and shotblocker, and an ultra-athletic defender on the perimeter and in the post, to boot.
Time will tell if the Giants made the right decision on this trade. Villanueva has struggled since getting traded to Magnolia. He is nowhere near the level of the player who once copped the Best Player of the Conference award. Pingris, on the other hand, has blossomed in his stint with the Giants. He has been instrumental in the teamâ€™s three championship runs, providing the team with great energy and very inspiring plays.
The Coca-Cola Tigers, on the other hand, appear to be on the verge of becoming a force in the league. The offseason has netted the Tigers so far Nic Belasco and Mark Macapagal, giving the team so much depth that they never had before.
For sure, Purefoods will miss Pingrisâ€™ hustle and energy but the lack of legitimate is too glaring a need to be overlooked. Their import this conference â€“ Darius Rice â€“ is a legitimate small forward who loves to play on the perimeter despite his 6-10 frame. Villanueva gives them a big man who can control the boards and defend the post.
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