In a move that seemed to be destined from the start, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel have made a blockbuster trade by acquiring Stanley Pringle from the Northport Batangpier. They gave away Sol Mercado, Kevin Ferrer and Jervy Cruz in the exchange. Pringle finally plays with a contender while Ferrer and Cruz are reunited with their college coach, Pido Jarencio. It must be a bit of a heartbreaker for Mercado, who is no stranger to being dealt to the Northport franchise from a San Miguel team. But what does it mean for both teams? We’ll break it down here.
New Gin King
For Ginebra, well, they just added Stanley Pringle. Let that sink in. A perennial BPC and MVP contender held back by the lack of playoff runs on his previous team. He will bring a lot of positives for the team, most importantly, his shot creation. For all the jokes about their “asa kay Brownlee” style of play, there is a bit of truth in there. A lot of their problems stem from relying too much on Justin Brownlee’s brilliance to generate offense. Their usual playmakers in LA Tenorio and Joe DeVance have started to bog down due to age and/or injuries. Pringle by himself rectifies that with his insane ability to break down defenders, finish in traffic and find open men. You could say he’s a mini-Brownlee in that regard. And even though he’s already 32, he doesn’t have as many miles on his body from deep playoff runs so that should bode well for Tim Cone.
But of course, there are a few cons as well. As with almost any superstart trade, they gave up depth to do it, especially on the wing. They may not have to rely as much on Brownlee now but he might still have to play the full 48 minutes since Ferrer was their only other healthy wing. At least in the short term, it’ll be an issue with Jeff Chan and recent signing Jared Dillinger still out with injury. Heck, even Pringle himself is dealing with an ankle injury, playing just two games in the conference so far. We can probably expect some three-guard lineups with him plus Tenorio and Scottie Thompson to compensate.
Northport: More Depth
As for the Batangpier, it’s always difficult to part with someone of Pringle’s caliber but they did add even more depth to their roster. In the Philippine Cup, they had to rely heavily on their “big 3” of Pringle, Sean Anthony and Mo Tautuaa. All three were finished in the top 5 of the BPC race, which says a lot about their production. In this conference so far however, they’ve had to rely on more players to pick up the slack and it’s been effective so far. As mentioned earlier, Pringle has only played in two games but they’re at the top with a 6-1 record thanks in part to the improved play of guys like Nico Elorde, Jonathan Grey, Paolo Taha and Garvo Lanete. Mercado’s experience and development into a competent 3&D guy should only help. As for Ferrer, there’s always been a sense of him not living up to his potential. Maybe reuniting with Jarencio can unlock it. Cruz is still a serviceable big who can beef up a frontline still missing Guinto.
As for the negatives, Pringle is still Pringle. There is just no way they’ll be able to completely replicate or replace the type of production he brings with just more depth. They won’t have as good of a bailout option, especially in the playoffs when defenses are tighter and defenses are more prepared. But as mentioned earlier, they’ve done well in his absence so it remains to be seen. Probably the biggest aspect of the trade is Northport giving the keys to Bolick to run this team and make him the face of the franchise.
All in all, Ginebra didn’t give up a lot to get their superstar with just one regular rotation guy plus two players who barely get minutes. It’s still a bit of a gamble though with all their injuries. But it’s definitely worth it in the long run. It’s also a gamble for Northport who will bank on their improved play across the whole roster to carry them. Maybe they thought they could finally do it without him, who knows. Time will tell for both squads.