Magnolia parted ways with one of its longest-tenured players in a move that certainly had the storied PBA ball club’s future in mind.
The Hotshots traded Justin Melton and Kyle Pascual to Terrafirma in exchange for rookie big man James Laput in a 2-for-1 deal.
This now ends the 34-year-old’s time with the Purefoods franchise, which began in 2013 when he was selected 13th overall in the Rookie Draft.
Known as ‘Quickmelt’ due to his superb athleticism for a 5-foot-9 player, Melton won four titles with the team — including of course the Grand Slam in 2014.
Meanwhile, Pascual is set for a homecoming as he is sent back to the very same organization that picked him at 24th overall in 2014.
The 6-foot-6 center has been with the Hotshots since 2017. He was part of the crew that ruled the Governors’ Cup in 2018.
At 31, the California-born cager has become quite a journeyman as he has already played for three teams in his career.
But it had to give up a potential main option in Laput, who was the tallest player at 6-foot-10 in last March’s draft where he was the eighth pick.
The La Salle product now adds more ceiling to a Magnolia frontcourt that features Ian Sangalang, Calvin Abueva, Rafi Reavis, and Rome Dela Rosa.