James Laput (PBA Images)

Magnolia Pambansang Manok acquired rookie center James Laput from Terrafirma in a three-player trade approved Thursday, Nov. 25 by the PBA Commissioner’s Office.

The Hotshots sent their long-time guard Justin Melton and big man Kyle Pascual to the Dyip for the 6-foot-10 Laput, who was chosen eighth overall in the draft last March.

Laput averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in the Philippine Cup, but his inside presence convinced Magnolia to make a move in acquiring the one-time La Salle big man.

But Magnolia had to give up Melton, known for his defense since being picked 13th overall in the 2013 draft.

Melton played a supporting role in the Purefoods’ franchise historic Grand Slam season in 2014 as San Mig Super Coffee, and was also part of Magnolia’s 2018 title-winning squad in the Governors’ Cup.

His playing time, however, has been limited in recent seasons with Magnolia loaded with guards like Paul Lee, Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon.

Pascual, a part of the Hotshots since 2017, will return to the team that drafted him in 2014.

The ex-San Beda center played for the then-Kia franchise from 2014 to 2016.

It was the first trade pulled off by Magnolia since losing to TNT in the Philippine Cup Finals last month in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Terrafirma has been busy since the end of its first conference campaign, making two deals involving shooting guard Simon Enciso.

The Dyip got Enciso from the Blackwater Bossing for Rashawn McCarthy in late-September. before he was shipped to the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for veteran guard Alex Cabagnot.