By Dennis U. Eroa
Sorry, folks. But I need to be very frank with all of you. The CJ Perez trade to San Miguel Beer is much ado about nothing, so to speak. To those, who tell the world that CJ Perez, he with the quick as a wink move and the ferociousness of a caged tiger, going to the illustrious Beermen stinks to high heaven is detached from the reality of professional basketball.
Trades happen, ladies and gentlemen. That’s a fact of life. If you’re a pro, always expect that nothing is permanent. Of course, there’s always an exception but it will not hurt one’s feeling if right after you sign your first contract you’ll think of this reality.
You can be traded if it will suit the needs of the competing teams. Winning, after all, comes with a hefty price and I am not just referring to the talents and financial muscle of the concerned teams but the wheeling and dealing being done behind the scene by the masters. And, we are mere bystanders, who are going to report next what transpired behind the curtains.
We can discuss and judge the CJ Perez story but at the end of the day, it’s a done deal. I salute PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial for his steadfastness. He refused to be swayed by the doomsayers and instead used diligence to come out with the decision to approve the San Miguel-Terrafirma swap.
Blame it on the immense talent and potential of the former king Pirate of Lyceum in the NCAA basketball scene that his transfer to the Beermen shook the establishment. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019 and a proven scoring leader even if Terrafirma got left behind by the other competing teams.
No doubt about it. With the addition of Perez and the return of man-mountain June Mar Fajardo, the Beermen, whose storied PBA campaign is the envy of many, will continue to be a dizzying mix of aging warriors and young men in pursuit of greatness. Expected to shoot the lights out are Terrence Romeo, Von Pessumal, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos. Then, there are Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and Paul Zamar to tend the backcourt. To rest the immovable Fajardo, Mo Tautaa and Billy Mamaril are ready to patrol the shaded lane.
Under four-time Coach of the Year Leo Austria, who steered the team to eight championships in seven seasons, the Beermen are going to be very deadly. But there’s no telling what will happen even with the addition of Perez because other teams are also busy looking for new players. Remember that the coming PBA Draft is talent-laden. Besides, the ball, I would like to believe is still around.
I was able to talk to the soft-spoken proud son of Sariaya, Quezon, known for its mouth-watering broas and apas, days before the trade and he said nothing was final yet. And I understand him fully because the trade is still waiting for approval at the Commissioner’s Office.
Maybe, Leo’s just taking it cautiously, knowing that the trade would stir up emotions, especially to the anti-Beermen. But that’s beside the point. Terrafirma’s Board of Governor Bobby Rosales said the trade was fair and Austria was simply echoing what others are saying: “Management and coaches want to get the best available player.”
Terrafirma got Russel Escoto, Gelo Alolino, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and two first round picks from SMB.
Move on, ladies!