Alaska sends Baguio to Phoenix Petroleum Games Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Phoenix Petroleum
7 p.m. – Mahindra vs Star
Alaska, the runner-up in the last four PBA conferences, unloaded one of its stars yesterday, sending Cyrus Baguio to Phoenix Petroleum for future Draft rights in an effort to get younger.
In return, the Fuel Masters got a tested gunner and team leader with JC Intal most likely to miss out the Governors’ Cup because of a knee injury.
It was the biggest trade in the pre-conference thus far as Phoenix continued to bolster its stock ever since new coach Ariel Vanguardia took over. The acquisition of Baguio is the Fuel Masters’ second in three days after getting Ronjay Buenafe from Meralco in exchange for Jonathan Uyloan.
Phoenix gave up its second-round picks in the next two years to get a hand on 35-year-old Baguio, whom Vanguardia believes has “a good 2-3 years left.”
Initially, Alaska, according to Vanguardia, wanted a first-rounder for Baguio, a member of the last two champion teams of the Aces, counting the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup with Rob Dozier as an import.
Phoenix will be Baguio’s fifth team after stints with Red Bull, Air21 and Barangay Ginebra.
The Fuel Masters get rolling under Vanguardia for the first time when the season-opening conference starts tomorrow as Phoenix battles Meralco at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine, which is seeking to win the franchise’s first back-to-back titles, believes that they have the perfect import yet again when Dior Lowhorn leads the Elasto Painters in the conference.
Lowhorn, who has had prior stints with Barangay Ginebra and GlobalPort, is a fierce inside presence with the gift to score, and coach Yeng Guiao believes that they have another Pierre Henderson-Niles who can stop the other local big men in the league.
The good thing, though, is that Lowhorn can score, unlike Henderson-Niles, who became the lowest-scoring import to ever lead his team to a title. Henderson-Niles averaged less than 10 points in helping the Elasto Painters win the Commissioner’s Cup.
“We’ve got the right import fit for us, a Henderson-Niles prototype who can score,” Guiao said in a text message.
The Elasto Painters, whose only other title came with Jamelle Cornley as import in 2012, debut on Wednesday against Tropang TNT.
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