Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso welcomed the chance of being able to pick higher in the talent-rich PBA Draft after finally trading star forward Vic Manuel to Phoenix.
The Aces moved up in the draft order as they acquired the No. 6 and No. 16 picks in the March 14 draft and Brian Heruela from the Fuel Masters by dealing Manuel and their No. 7 and No. 19 picks.
Phoenix also sent its first-round pick in the draft next year to Alaska as part of the Manuel package. (READ: Vic Manuel hopes to find luck at Phoenix after Alaska trade)
"Trading Vic was very challenging these past 6 weeks," Cariaso said. "There were several offers from different teams that either fell off the table or we simply did not want to accept."
"Finally, we've come to a deal with Phoenix that will give us a better opportunity to draft marquee talents in both [the first two] rounds. Plus, [they] gave us an extra first-round pick next year," he added.
As news of the trade broke, Cariaso clarified Heruela was not a part of the original package, but the PBA requested the addition of the burly guard for the deal to push through.
"[H]e may end up being a blessing in disguise for us," Cariaso said on Twitter. "Great kid with tremendous work ethic."
While the Aces lost a key cog in Manuel – who averaged 15.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists last season – Cariaso expressed full faith in his squad as the new PBA season approaches.
"I truly believe in the guys we have and trust that they will step up, taking full advantage of the opportunities," Cariaso said.
"I'm equally as excited about the free agents and rookies that will join us this coming season," Cariaso added as Alaska recently signed Gab Banal and Yousef Taha to fresh contracts.
"Never will there be a question of commitment from these guys and I look forward to the daily grind with them." – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.