SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua

WHILE the Philippine Basketball Association is set to lift the moratorium on trading players this month, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) sports director Alfrancis Chua expects bulk of movements happening after the rookie draft.

Speaking on The Chasedown television program on Saturday, Mr. Chua, also the concurrent Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings top official, shared that while he has heard of some teams angling to make moves early, nothing definite has come out of them yet and sees deals being consummated after the draft set for March 14.

“Right now, there is not much movement. I think everybody is waiting for the draft. That is when trades are really made because the teams already have draft picks and have a better view of what they have,” Mr. Chua said in Filipino.

Adding, “And they base their moves from there. They send a player to another team in exchange for another player to address what they need. Right now, there is not much movement. Although I have heard some teams are trying to make moves, but nothing definite yet.”

The PBA suspended player trades last year because of the situation with the pandemic, which greatly disrupted the league’s 45th season.

It was to allow teams to have more time to evaluate their moves carefully.

The only deals allowed last year were extension of player contracts until Dec. 31 and acquisition of players in free agency.

Mr. Chua, also a former PBA coach, did not say whether they at SMC are looking to trade for players or eyeing certain athletes to get.

He, however, shared that every move they make goes through a process.

“I talk to the coaches and discuss what they need and then I consult RSA (SMC President/CEO Ramon S. Ang) about it. It’s hard to trade players, especially here in SMC because players don’t want to be traded, so we make sure that the deals we make will be beneficial for all,” Mr. Chua said.

The ongoing offseason is expected to be a busy one for the PBA with a deep talent pool available in the rookie draft and the number of quality players seen to be made available for trade.

Terrafirma Dyip star CJ Perez and Northport Batang Pier’s Christian Standhardinger are among the often mentioned to be on the move while players like Joshua Munzon, Jason Brickman, Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, and those coming from the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League bannering this year’s rookie draft.

Deadline for the application for the draft is set for Jan. 27.

Terrafirma holds the right to pick first in the draft, followed by Northport, NLEX Road Warriors (third and fourth), Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, and Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok.

The rest of the draft order for the first round has Alaska, San Miguel Beermen, Meralco Bolts, Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, Northport and Barangay Ginebra picking. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo