The Meralco Bolts started the 2016 Oppo Commissioner’s Cup with 5 straight wins which catapulted them to the top of the standings. However, back-to-back losses have somewhat dampened their electrifying start. To make matters worse, former Gilas Pilipinas guard and 5-time PBA All-Star, Gary David, complained about his lack of playing time during Meralco’s most recent game.
Consequently, the Bolts decided to suspend Gary David for 1-game and he was fined an unspecified amount for failing to observe team policies and for displaying unacceptable behavior towards the coaching staff.
Given El Granada’s struggles this conference (6.6 points & 35% shooting in 16.3 minutes, his lowest scoring average since his rookie year), his current rift with Meralco and his expiring contract at the end of the season, the most logical move for the Bolts is to trade the former Lyceum Pirate and former 4x PBA scoring champion. A trade might help David revitalize his career while the Bolts might end up receiving something worthwhile in return instead of just keeping a disgruntled David on the bench.
David is a 37-year old veteran who has been in the PBA since 2004. He keeps himself in tiptop shape and he can still contribute when given the opportunity. In fact, during the 2016 Philippine Cup, David averaged 16 points and 3.5 rebounds on 43.8% shooting in 29.1 minutes. He is still in search of his first PBA title which means that David is still hungry and motivated to play well. You can be certain that he will give his full effort when he gets traded to another team.
So, which teams can benefit with El Granada on their roster? Here are some trade scenarios for Gary David.
- Phoenix Fuel Masters
When Phoenix was still owned by Air21 Express (became Barako Bull later on), Gary David played for that franchise from 2005-2010. He had an amazing 3-year stretch (2006-2009) where he averaged 17.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 117 games played. His tenure with Air21 (about 5 years long) is still his longest tour of duty for the same franchise. Now, a trade to the Fuel Masters can be considered a homecoming of sorts for El Granada.
Additionally, his arrival in Phoenix will not be treated as a similar scenario like what happened in Meralco where David lost his minutes to guys like Chris Newsome and Jared Dillinger. Instead, David will probably get a lot of opportunities to play as shooting guard or small forward where he will be tasked to shoot the ball and hopefully, score often.
Moreover, David can either start or come off the bench because he can definitely help Phoenix offensively. The Fuel Masters currently sit in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring while languishing near the bottom in shooting (11th). Finally, it is arguable to consider David as the 3rd (or even 2nd) best player on the team after RR Garcia and JC Intal, so it makes sense to give El Granada some minutes, certainly more than he received from Meralco.
Now, who would Meralco want from Phoenix? It’s possible that sweet-shooting big man Mick Pennisi is someone the Bolts can use because Coach Norman Black wants those in his system.
- Mahindra Enforcers
The Enforcers have been doing well this conference despite having a relatively young team who does not have a lot of experience playing in the PBA. Aside from KG Canaleta, Rich Alvarez and Mark Yee (all big men), most of their backcourt players have been in the league for 3 years (LA Revilla) or less (Karl Dehesa, Joshua Webb, Hyram Bagatsing, John Pinto and Michael DiGregorio).
Therefore, the arrival of a proven veteran who played for Gilas Pilipinas and won multiple player awards can become beneficial to the growth and maturity of the younger and less experienced players. Of course, this assertion was made with the assumption that David will become more supportive of his teammates and more accepting of his role with a new team, regardless if it is a major or minor role. Another complaint regarding his minutes will probably hurt his chances of signing a new contract during the off-season.
Another reason why the Enforcers can use Gary David will be answered with the use of statistics from the 2016 Philippine Cup. Did you know that Gary David averaged more points than any player from the Mahindra Enforcers during the previous conference? Furthermore, El Granada’s philosophy of shooting early and often also fits the system/style of Mahindra. His love for jumpers and three-pointers also coincides with Mahindra’s current personnel. The Enforcers have guys who launch a bunch of threes (Ramos & Canaleta) and as a team, they are 4th in threes made and attempted while only 7th in scoring. Gary David can help them improve in those categories.
Well, who can Mahindra offer Meralco aside from draft picks? Paolo Hubalde might be an option because he can strengthen the Bolts’ PG spot or Kyle Pascual can be offered to the Bolts because he is a big man who can hit the occasional jumper.
- NLEX Road Warriors
The simplest trade for Meralco might involve their sister team, nope not Tropang TnT but the NLEX Road Warriors. Their lineup is a little similar to the Mahindra Enforcers with regards to having young and inexperienced backcourt players. Their backcourt players of the future include Garvo Lanete, Simon Enciso and Kevin Alas. These guys can score and shoot but a little more seasoning and veteran influence (has to be positive) should do these young guns a lot of good. Furthermore, Gary David can mentor and teach these boys a few tricks during practice.
In addition, David can spend some time with another veteran, Asi Taulava. The two have never played for the same PBA team during their storied careers. Most recently, both had a brief collaboration during the 2015 Gilas Pilipinas team so having a chance to play with Asi again might revitalize David even more. Taulava’s presence and influence should also calm El Granada down in case he gets upset again at the lack of playing time.
Strategically speaking, David’s possible arrival at NLEX will help them offensively especially when their young backcourt cannot hit shots from the perimeter. Did you know that Alas, Enciso and Lanete are all shooting slightly lower percentages from the 3-point arc than Gary David? Actually, only Sean Anthony is shooting a higher percentage than David from long range. Besides making jumpers, David also becomes the Road Warriors’ best slasher and isolation player instantly.
So, who would NLEX offer Meralco? The best scenario might include Mac Cordona who has rarely played recently. A trade involving both David and Cordona should give both guys a chance to revive and re-energize their careers with different teams. – By Rolly Mendoza
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