Converge and Blackwater pulled the first trigger and agreed to a four-man, two-team trade that was approved by the Office of the Commissioner on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
Under the deal, the FiberXers are sending three players in RK Ilagan, Mike DiGregorio and rookie forward Tyrus Hill in exchange for Barkley Ebona and the Bossing’s first round pick in next season’s PBA draft.
The draft pick that Converge had acquired was the pick that Blackwater got in a trade for Troy Rosario. Previously without a pick in the first round, the move allowed the FiberXers to get into a position to pick a young talent in the expected deep pool of players next year.
Ebona, who showed flashes of potential when he was put under the wings of then-Alaska coach Danny Ildefonso, will be joining his former mentor at the FiberXers camp along with Justin Arana, Jeo Ambohot and Abu Tratter in the front line rotation.
On the other hand, it is a homecoming of sorts for DiGregorio whose career first blossomed with the Blackwater franchise for two years from 2017 to 2019 before he was shipped to TNT and eventually ended up with Alaska.
The Fil-Italian guard would play for two more seasons for the Aces and became a solid contributor to the team before the franchise was bought by Converge prior to the start of the league’s 47th season.
DiGregorio, however, saw his minutes decline as he was relegated to a bench role under head coach Aldin Ayo, making the move to Blackwater, where he is expected to provide leadership and contribution, become a breath of fresh air for the 31-year-old guard.
Ilagan is a solid backup point guard for the FiberXers while Hill is a forward brimming with potential and only needs some minutes to prove his worth – something he could get with Blackwater.
The question, however, for the Bossing is how they will balance the minutes in a team now suddenly loaded with guards following the addition of Ilagan and DiGregorio. The team already inked an extension with star guard Baser Amer just last week and still has the likes of Jvee Casio, Rashawn McCarthy, Mike Ayonayon, Jollo Go, Rey Suerte and Justin Melton.