The PBA offseason may not be as big of a deal as the NBA’s.
The NBA version is bigger and more exciting since there are no “sister teams” and each team is a completely separate entity trying to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
However, this year’s PBA offseason has proven to be one of the most exciting in the 46-year history of the league because the titan company San Miguel Corporation has once again made its presence felt by acquiring three superstars for each of their teams.
Winning a title in the upcoming PBA just got a lot harder as powerhouse teams got major boosts heading into the next season.
Philippine Cup defending champions Barangay Ginebra traded away long-time big-man Greg Slaughter, who just returned to the team after his absence last season, to NorthPort for Chrisitian Standhardinger.
This trade has been rumored around the league since last season but it finally became official Friday morning.
The Fil-German averaged 19.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists in 49% shooting from the field.
Standhardinger has shown is great chemistry playing with current Gin Kings big-man Japeth Aguilar and comfortability under head coach Tim Cone’s system during his time in the Gilas Pilipinas squad that competed in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Cone, who has 23 championships under his belt, expressed his joy in acquiring Standhardinger and stated that his game will remind older Barangay Ginebra fans of the old bigs in the game.
“C-Stan’s strengths will fit well with what Ginebra needs as a team,” he said. “We welcome C-Stan to the Ginebra family. We certainly wish Greg all the best and thank him for the championships he brought to Ginebra, I believe Greg will go to NorthPort and put up much bigger numbers than he had at Ginebra and elevate that team,“ he stated in an interview.
“I think the Gin fans will appreciate his style of play. He’s a throwback to the Ginebra players of old,” “The trade reminds me of the old days when Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben would be traded for each other. Both premiere big men with different skills,” he added.
The second SMC team to add another superstar is the San Miguel Beermen.
The Beermen had their first failed campaign in the Philippine Cup last season when they lost twice in the Quarterfinals to Meralco despite having a twice-to-beat advantage.
That snapped the five-year reign of San Miguel in the PH Cup conference but it seems that it only made them hungrier.
The Beermen acquired two-time scoring champion CJ Perez from Terrafirma for Russel Escoto, guard Gelo Alolino and forward Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and two first round picks.
This means that San Miguel now has a line-up that consists of Perez, June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Mo Tautuaa, Terrence Romeo and Von Pessumal.
“He will help us a lot, but I assure you, the game will also be a lot easier for him because he won’t have to do everything (at San Miguel),” head coach Leo Austria said in an interview.
“It won’t be that hard for him anymore,” Austria went on as he enumerated on the things Perez needed to do with the Dyip, where he had minimal help. [At San Miguel] he will have a lot of help. His teammates here can make him even better and he can return the favor by also making his teammates better,” he added.
Perez was named last season’s scoring champion by averaging 24.3 points with 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
Last, but not least, the Magnolia Hotshots got a big boost too.
Magnolia acquired Calvin Abueva from Phoenix for Chris Banchero and the sixth and 18th overall pick of the upcoming draft.
This trade now gives Magnolia a much needed all-around guy that can be impactful even just by taking 10 shots.
Last season, Abueva made his return to the PBA after being suspended by the PBA for 16 months. In his return, he averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists. He made a lot of noise in the playoffs and led Phoenix to the semi-finals where they forced a favored Tropang Giga team to five games.
Him joining the Magnolia team will reunite with his college teammate Ian Sangalang and good friend Marc Pingris.
“Calvin is an all-around player. He can shoot, he can pass, he can rebound, and apart from that he brings so much energy and hustle,” shared Chito Victolero in an interview.
“I think he can be that big guard for us and he can be at the 2-guard position because we still have a complete lineup of guards. We’ll just give Calvin a bit more of responsibility since, in the case of emergency; he can be the 1 or 2 since he’s a playmaker,” he added.
With all this in place, it’s safe to say the SMC is out to win all conferences next season.
Do you think an SMC team will win all conferences next season? Sound off below on the comment section.