Following its relatively successful outing in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Phoenix Super LPG felt the need to tinker with its lineup to take it further.
The most crucial part of the plan was to get quality pieces, and Fuel Masters coach Topex Robinson said they were just waiting for the perfect opportunity.
"Obviously we wanted to go further than how we started out. It presented a lot of opportunity. We looked on our lineup what we need, what we have," said Fuel Masters coach Topex Robinson in an interview with The Game.
Robinson said the trades that involved Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel had a lot to do with the recent developments involving the PBA draft.
"It's really hard for us, especially that we don't have a big of a lineup so when there was an opportunity to get deeper on the draft, get a veteran guard in Chris Banchero, Calvin is just the one we had to give up so it really was a tough decision we have to make. But it's a win-win situation so far," said the coach.
"Obviously we're updated with what's happening with the Fil-Am (players). We all wished they could play and get their papers done but there's a possibility kasi na baka hindi . . . The risk of those Fil-Ams not making it and the opportunity now of getting Vic Manuel at No. 6, napakalaking bagay. We can't turn that down."
Phoenix first traded away Abueva to Magnolia in exchange for Banchero and the sixth and 18th picks of this year's draft.
Then it secured Manuel from Alaska in exchange for Brian Heruela, its sixth and 16th pick from this draft. Phoenix also got the No. 7 and No. 19 pick from Alaska.
"Obviously we lost Calvin that's a big thing for us, but we got Vic and we have Chris Banchero, a really veteran guard that we needed in our lineup," Robinson said.
"Looking back at our season, we didn't have that big guy, we didn't have that presence in the post . . . It's a big opportunity for Vic Manuel to step up."
"Vic still has a few more good years in his tank and he's excited to be pretty much be on a different team now after serving Alaska well for the past 7 years."
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