Right from the start, Abu Tratter knew that basketball is a business.
Although he was initially surprised, the 30-year-old big man immediately shifted his focus to the next destination after Converge informed him it was sending him to Magnolia – the third team in his career that he had been traded to.
Tratter was shipped to the Hotshots together with slam dunk champion David Murrell in exchange for winger Adrian Wong and a 2023 first-round draft pick. It was the first trade of the league’s months-long offseason.
“My mental space, of course, was surprised,” he recalled of the deal consummated last April. “I was actually at practice, and they sat me down – when they tell you, ‘Hey, look, we need to meet,’ there’s something going on.”
“But just like my first day of getting drafted, I got traded, you know. I know this is a business. I took it with my head up and thought of what’s the next move because it’s all about staying present,” he added.
Tratter was referring to the night of the 2018 Rookie Draft when he and Paul Desiderio were both drafted by NLEX in the first round but were traded to Blackwater in a three-team deal centered on Poy Erram.
It was that very moment when the seventh overall pick got indoctrinated about one of professional sports’ realities, thus his adaptive mentality that has made it easier for him to process trades just like last month.
That’s why there was nothing personal whatsoever on his part when he played against his former team. The Hotshots and the FiberXers locked horns in the ongoing PBA On Tour on Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Magnolia won the tight encounter, 99-95.
“Feels good,” said the former Gilas member, who finished with eight points and six rebounds. “It’s just a preseason, so we’re all just molding to the new adjustments, and I could tell that they’re molding as well.
“It was a good battle,” added Tratter, who was traded by the Bossing to Alaska, whose franchise would be sold to Converge, in 2019. “It’s always good to get a close game like that before the season starts. There’s a lot to learn.”
Tratter has seen action in the Hotshots’ two games thus far in the preseason tournament. He has averaged 11.0 points on 58.8-percent shooting from the field, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and has been fitting in nicely.
That’s thanks to the team’s welcoming veterans, he said.
“It’s been perfect,” offered the 6-foot-5 bruiser from Laguna. “The vets make sure that I get up-to-date. I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks, and like you guys said, I fit kinda like a glove over here, you know.”
Safe to say, he’s found a home.
“It feels good to be wanted.
“It also feels good to be in a system where you can excel. I feel like this is a system that I can excel in, and a system that I can help my teammates,” said the former All-Rookie Team member.