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PBA: Players Shuffled

By Waylon Galvez

Manila, Philippines – Players were being exchanged like gifts yesterday in this post-Christmas deal as five teams were involved in a multi-trade in preparation for the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup which starts on February 8.

The Barako Bull, which finished second to last in the just finished All-Filipino conference, appeared to be the main beneficiary, however, landing the versatile JC Intal and also getting Jonas Villanueva, Jojo Duncil and Allain Maliksi.

The deal got the approval of the Commissioner’s office.

The deal started with Barako Bull sending Ronald Tubid to Petron Blaze for Duncil and rookie Alex Mallari, the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s PBA Rookie Draft.

Mallari was then shipped to San Mig Coffee in a package that also included Leo Najorda, Lester Alvarez and a 1st round pick in 2014 (originally owned by Petron). In return, Barako got Aldrech Ramos, Villanueva and Intal.

The wheeling-and-dealing did not end there as Ramos was shipped to Alaska for Mac Baracael then the Energy Cola dealt Baracael to Barangay Ginebra for Maliksi.

“We have to be careful and patient (with players Barako Bull got),” said Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, who is part of the Energy Cola coaching staff, when contacted by the Bulletin. “We have to put them in the system, and it may take some time.”

“But looking at the future, this is something good for the team. We got players who didn’t see much playing time with their previous teams, so we know they are hungry to compete, to prove themselves,” added Toroman.

Barako Bull lost to Ginebra in a tune-up game, 97-90, at the Xavier gym in San Juan.

Barako Bull team manager Raffy Casyao said yesterday that they got players whom he feels can help them in spots where they are weak during the Philippine Cup, where they nearly made the playoffs but lost in their final game to Rain or Shine.

“We got solution with the backcourt with Villanueva and Duncil,” said Casyao. “But with this trade, I think all teams will benefit from it.”