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PBA: Cabagnot returns to San Miguel

GLOBALPORT’s Alex Cabagnot drives to the basket against Barako Bull’s Jeric Fortuna (left) and Mick Pennisi during PBA action. The Batang Pier won, 98-96. (Photo by Tony Pionilla)

Manila, Philippines – In hopes to have stability at the point guard spot in the playoffs, Philippine Cup outright semifinalist San Miguel Beer has obtained veteran Alex Cabagnot back to its roster following a trade with Globalport.

The deal was consummated Wednesday by both teams and approved by the PBA Commissioner’s Office just hours before the 5 p.m. trade deadline as playoffs starts today at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Globalport official Erick Arejola confirmed the trade, as the Batang Pier will get its former player as well in Sol Mercado plus two second round picks, one in 2018 and another in 2019 Rookie Draft.

Both teams are in the playoffs.

San Miguel Beer booked an outright semifinal seat after beating expansion team Blackwater, 91-62, Tuesday night.

San Miguel Beer tied Rain or Shine with similar 9-2 records, but because of the ‘winner over the other’ rule after the Beermen defeated the Elasto Painters (87-79) last Oct. 21, SMB will get the No. 1 seeding while ROS will settle for No. 2 the rest of the playoffs.

Globalport, on the other hand, was relegated to No. 8 as it lost to Meralco (82-70), and has a twice-to-win disadvantage against No. 5 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in their quarterfinal match up on Friday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

The addition of Cabagnot will boost SMB’s guard rotation, where the 10-year veteran will share playing minutes with fellow Fil-Am Chris Ross and sophomore Jeric Fortuna.

Cabagnot, who turned 32 last Monday, averaged 15.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists for Globalport this conference. He was dealt to Globalport last season prior to the Commissioner’s Cup for Mercado in a one-on-one deal.

The 6-foot-1 Cabagnot started his career with the now defunct Sta. Lucia Realty, which selected him No. 2 overall during the 2005 Rookie Draft. He was then traded to Coca-Cola before SMB/Petron Blaze got him in a deal in the middle of the 2010 Season.

As for the 30-year-old Mercado, he will join a young backcourt of sophomore playmaker in Terrence Romeo and rookie guard Stanley Pringle. He played for Globalport last season before that trade with SMB.

This conference, Mercado averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a back up to Ross. Originally drafted by Alaska (fifth overall) in 2008, Mercado also had stints with Rain or Shine and Meralco.

Meanwhile, ROS guard Jericho Cruz will be out for the conference after he had a fractured fifth metatarsal (finger) on his left foot. He sustained the injury during the second quarter of their game against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The injury will require the 6-foot-1 Cruz a surgery this week, and will have a recovery period of one to two months. He averages 8 points, almost 3 rebounds, two assists and 1.20 steals per game this conference.

“Jericho’s out for the conference,” said ROS Coach Yeng Guiao after the team’s practice session at the Northeast Green Hills gym in San Juan City. “It’s a problem to us, he game us a lot of depth on our guard rotation.”

“It’s still opportunity loss for us, and also for Jericho because he’s been playing well,” added Guiao. (Waylon Galvez)