Ginebra sends Cortez to Air21 for rookie Taha
MANILA, Philippines - Ginebra San Miguel has agreed to a deal that will send veteran point guard Mike 'The Cool Cat' Cortez to Air21 Express in exchange for rookie center Yousef Taha.
InterAKTV first reported the deal which would reunite Cortez with his head coach during his days as a De La Salle Green Archer, Franz Pumaren. They earlier reported a more complex trade that would have involved Petron Blaze Booster's burly point guard Denok Miranda.
Taha quickly took to Twitter to express gratitude to the team that drafted him and thank Ginebra die-hards for their warm welcome.
Thanks Air21 for everything! I'm going to miss all of yall! Much love and respect always!— Yousef Taha (@YousefTaha_88) November 6, 2012
Thanks Ginebra fans for the warm welcome! Should be fun!— Yousef Taha (@YousefTaha_88) November 6, 2012
Cortez did the same, thanking Ginebra fans for their "love and support" during his tenure as a GinKing.
BGSM fans, tnx for all d LOVE nd SUPPORT.. twas a fun 2 years!!! #neversaydie— mike cortez (@mikecortez_11) November 6, 2012
How does the trade workout for both teams? On paper it looks great as both teams address their needs.
Air21 gets a veteran point guard who, given the minutes, can fill up the stat sheet. There was a stretch in the 2012 Governor's Cup when Cortez averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
The 'Cool Cat' also brings stability to the Express backcourt; he should have little to no problem dishing to Air21's leading scorers this conference - John Wilson and KG Canaleta, both his former teammates in Ginebra.
Ginebra, on the other hand, plugs a hole in the middle with 24-year-old Yousef Taha who officially stands 6'6" - a welcome addition to the Kings' thin frontline.
In seven games with Air21, he led the team in rebounding, hauling down 6.71 boards per game. He's the type of player who doesn't need the ball to affect the game.
The trade comes after Ginebra's 5th straight defeat following a strong 2-0 start in the season. It satisfies a need on the court and the fans' desire for change. However, the crowd-favorites have more work to do as they add another new name to a team already struggling with chemistry.
Adding to the team's problems is the loss of players to injury. Sophomore Dylan Ababou suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on his right knee. Also absent from their last game were key players Allein Maliksi (sprained foot), Kerby Raymundo (flu), and Jay-jay Helterbrand (hamstring injury). - Rappler.com