Trading Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot prior to the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup and missing another key player in Chris Ross have certainly left a huge hole on the San Miguel Beermen.
That hole is not only about the championship experience as the 3 players were key members of the dreaded “Death Five” that drove San Miguel’s romp to 8 championships over the span of 6 years.
“Those were our 3 co-captains,” team manager Gee Abanilla said.
Without those co-captains, the Beermen were obviously missing their leadership presence inside the hardcourt.
Santos and Cabagnot were traded to separate teams.
A 9-time PBA champion, former MPV, 2-time finals MVP, 2-time defensive player of the year, 7-time all-defensive team member and member of the league’s 40 Greatest Players, Santos was traded to NorthPort for Vic Manuel.
Cabagnot, also a 9-time PBA champion, former finals MVP and 7-time PBA all-star, was shipped to Terrafirma for 3-point specialist Simon Enciso.
Ross, on the other hand, is another floor leader.
Luckily, San Miguel arrested an alarming skid as Manuel and Enciso played their best game since getting traded to the Beermen.
Manuel finished with 16 points on a 7-of-11 shooting from the field while Enciso had 13 markers on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, including 3 triples.
Still, Abanilla, the former coach-turned executive, is hoping the team could identify a new floor leader while waiting for the arrival of Ross.
Ross went home to the United States to attend to some personal matters. His dad, a US Military personnel, died recently and was given a military tribute, but the many-time all-defensive team member is still helping the family in getting things settled before rejoining his team, according to Abanilla.
“At this time, the team really needs a new voice from among our players in the absence of Chris Ross,” added Abanilla.