MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) on Tuesday approved a trade that will send veteran big men Enrico Villanueva to the Air21 Express while Ronnie Matias and Carlo Sharma will go to GlobalPort.
“I’ve been eyeing him since last conference,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren told the league website. “After Asi (Taulava), we don’t really have a solid big guy, somebody who can adapt to the physicality in the PBA.”
“He gives us additional depth in our big guys. We’re looking at using him in the third conference. He’s still doing his rehab, and we’re looking at preparing him for the next conference,” he added.
The 33-year-old Villanueva has struggled with injuries in the past few seasons, including an ACL tear in his right knee that kept him on the sidelines since 2012.
He played only one game for GlobalPort in the previous conference.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort head coach Pido Jarencio said the trade was “the decision between the coaches and the management.”
“Si Ronnie naman, makakatulong siya sa three-spot namin para may kapalitan si J-Wash (Jay Washington),” said Jarencio. “Masaya naman kami, kasi balanced naman ‘yung trade.”
Jarencio hinted that GlobalPort may be done dealing for now.
“So far, wala pa naman kaming tinitingnang bagong trades,” he said. “Ang aim pa rin namin dito ay yung ayusin yung team.”
Air21 has gotten off to a 2-2 start in the Commissioners Cup, while GlobalPort has lost all four of its assignments.