Barely 24 hours before the start of the playoffs, San Miguel Beer, the top-seeded team in the Philippine Cup, and GlobalPort, which made the playoffs for the third time in franchise history, made a last-minute switch of point guards in hopes of keeping their title aspirations alive.
The Beermen agreed to trade Sol Mercado and their two future second round picks to the Batang Pier for Alex Cabagnot, the point guard who led San Miguel Beer to its last championship three years ago.
The Philippine Basketball Association made the confirmation on Wednesday.
Curiously, both players were traded for each other last season.
Mercado served as mentor of then-rookie Terrence Romeo with the Batang Pier.
Sources within both teams claimed that it was a “mutual decision.”
“It’s not that one player is not as good as the other,” said a source who requested anonymity. “It’s about finding the right fit.”
Another source said both Mercado and Cabagnot will be more needed by their respective teams now.
“With June Mar Fajardo as anchor of San Miguel Beer’s offense, it would be ideal to have someone who’s more capable of playing deliberate half court sets and Cabagnot fits that role,” said the other source. “With Mercado, he will be a perfect complement for young talented guards Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.”