By Adrian Stewart Co
The trade centered on former top-overall picks Christian Standhardinger and Gregory Slaughter has finally pushed through ahead of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office’s trade committee has approved on late Thursday the blockbuster trade that send Standhardinger to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings and Slaughter to the NorthPort Batang Pier.
The trade did not come as a surprise as the Kings and the Batang Pier tried to pull the plug on the Standhardinger-Slaughter after Ginebra’s championship in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup.
The trade, however, did not push through with Slaughter deciding not to sign a contract extension with the Kings last year as he chose to return to the United States to “take a break.”
Even with the absence of the Cebuano center, the Kings still went on to capture the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup championship at the expense of the injury-hit TNT Tropang GIGA.
The arrival of Standhardinger will be huge for the title-retention bid of the Kings. Slaughter, on the other hand, is expected to have a fresh start with the Batang Pier with head coach Alfredo Jarencio looking to develop him like former UST center Karim Abdul.
Meanwhile, Kelly Williams made his PBA return after a brief retirement as he signs a two-year deal with the Tropang GIGA, team manager Gabby Cui confirmed on Thursday.
“We would like to welcome Kelly back to TNT Tropang GIGA,” Cui said in a statement. “His leadership and experience will help us achieve success in the coming conference.”
The PBA return of the 39-year-old Williams came weeks after the Tropang GIGA brought back Vincent “Chot” Reyes as its head coach in lieu of Ilonggo Ferdinand “Bong” Ravena, who was relegated to one of TNT’s assistant coaches.
Williams had his best years in the league during Reyes’ first stint as head coach of the Tropang GIGA franchise and their partnership has produced four PBA championships, including three consecutive PBA Philippine Cup titles./ASC, WDJ