LOYALTY SWAP | SAN MIGUEL TRADES ALEX CABAGNOT FOR SIMON ENCISO




I realize that San Miguel is purposely destroying its starting core because they want to improve their age.


Also, I guess with the players in the squad, Arwind Santos and the player in question are better off playing for other teams.


But man, losing Alex Cabagnot to the Terrafirma Dyip in a straight-up swap for Simon Enciso is cold.


For Enciso, I think he benefits more playing for San Miguel than the other way around. In the last conference, Enciso led the Blackwater Bossing in scoring with 13.7ppg to also go with 2.8rpg, 4.1apg, 0.5spg, and a 37 percent field goal clip. After that showing, he was traded to Terrafirma because Ariel Vanguardia wanted his former ABL player Rashawn McCarthy. McCarthy got to Terrafirma when the then-Kia franchise sent its first-round pick to San Miguel for him, Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, and their 2019 first-round pick that turned out to be Christian Balagasay.


Including his offseason stint with Terrafirma, Enciso has played in seven teams in all of his six PBA seasons.


For the 30-year-old second-round pick, this is both a blessing and a curse.


Enciso needs to play for a team that would keep his services for multiple seasons. The current global situation is one factor… and playing for a franchise loaded with money is going to be helpful in securing his future.


Still, what about the players that were let go?


If you ask me, this is San Miguel re-writing the wrongs of the CJ Perez trade. The Beermen gave Terrafirma three benchwarmers and two draft picks for Baby Beast. Matt Ganuelas-Rosser finally got his basketball bearings back but Gelo Alolino only played one game for Team Dyip. Russel Escoto was shipped to Magnolia for a 2022 second-rounder and while 2021 first-round pick James Laput did a lot of good things as a potential key player (Terrafirma acquired SMB’s pick that translated into him), he is no CJ Perez (Terrafirma still has San Miguel’s 2022 first-round pick as well).


Adding Cabagnot to the mix, even while giving up Enciso in the process, is a step in the right direction for Team Dyip.


Cabagnot has set his sights on a post-player basketball job as he has been part of the UP coaching staff for some time now. If he’s not going to grab the minutes he used to have with the Beermen, he could at least share his knowledge with Juami Tiongson, JP Calvo, Reden Celda, and Joshua Munzon. More than his point guard skills, he could at least give Terrafirma a winning mentality. While I’m pretty sure that Cabagnot is not going to retire as part of Terrafirma, he’s probably going to be an important part of their rise, regardless.


With that said, it’s hard to factor why a team would ditch a beloved player at this stage of his career.


Much less, two beloved players in a span of a week?!?


Money, I guess?


Much like WWE is releasing their talents left and right after going scorched earth as far as looting talents, San Miguel is practically releasing their talents to least diminish the financial damage. In the early-2010s, San Miguel unleashed a similar move in which they let go of 2000s stars Danny Seigle, Dondon Hontiveros, and Dorian Pena to the Air21 Express for Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao, and Rey Guevarra. In some ways, the move became integral to the Death 5 core because they used Rabeh and Guevarra – alongside Lordy Tugade as trade bait for Powerade to score the services of Marcio Lassiter. Also, it relieves the Beermen of paying steep contracts to Seigle and Pena. Hontiveros was still an SMB starter back then but the Beermen also had Arwind Santos and Jay Washington manning the forward spots and at that point, they were embroiled with the whole “Petronovela” situation. Letting go Seigle, Pena, Hontiveros, and Paul Artadi actually gave Arwind, Cabagnot, and J-Wash the chance to make the Beermen stay away from the team of the 2000s and in the process, gain three starter contracts.


Also, I know Danny Ildefonso left San Miguel in the worst way but I get why he felt that way. San Miguel wanted Ildefonso to become an SMB lifer but as he aged, Ildefonso wanted to get out of the proverbial talent jail cell that is the SMB bench. For years, we wanted Demolition Danny to leave San Miguel to pursue other things and that move gave us the Meralco version of Ildefonso… with the thought that they should have traded Ildefonso when he still had most of his skills.


We forget that the entry of Enciso and Vic Manuel may be a way to bring in Terrence Romeo and CJ Perez to the starting five. An injury-free June Mar Fajardo is the man in the middle with Manuel or Mo Tautuaa helping him in the PF spot and with Perez and Lassiter doing the scoring and the slashing. With the departure of Cabagnot, the Beermen would still have a surplus of capable quarterbacks in Romeo, Enciso, and Chris Ross. All three guards are combo guards and could even play all at once when the situation arises. It may also give Paul Zamar and Von Pessumal a more pronounced playing time than the scraps they have been getting.


Enciso has terrible luck in terms of finding a team and perhaps he can find it in San Miguel.


I don’t really see the Beermen as rebuilding here. Far from it, they are promoting their players by “retiring” their older stars. Romeo had at least two years in which he had a cap on his playing time and with Cabagnot out of the lineup, he can finally unleash the skills we know he has in full capacity. Leo Austria did a great job integrating Romeo but he can only do so much. Obviously, Cabagnot knows that Romeo is out for his spot but at least now he’s not going to suffer at the bench the same way he saw Olsen Racela suffer when the Beermen brought guys like Mike Cortez, Cabagnot, LA Tenorio, Jonas Villanueva, and Bonbon Custodio to “audition” for his spot.


The question here though is if this is Cabagnot’s final team destination?


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