MANILA, Philippines—Trading high-prized players in the PBA is always sure to create shockwaves, especially if those pieces were centers.
So when Barangay Ginebra and NorthPort exchanged big men, famed head coach Tim Cone couldn’t help but compare the move to a pair of acquisitions that changed the history of the league.
Ginebra parted ways with Greg Slaughter in exchange for NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger and Cone was transported to the time when iconic big men Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben were traded twice in the 1980s.
“The trade reminds me of the old days when Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben would be traded for each other,” said Cone Friday. “Both premier big men with differing skills.”
Manila Beer’s Fernandez, a two-time MVP at that point, and Tanduay’s Guidaben, the 1983 MVP, were the top centers of the league during the 1980s and the two switched places in 1985.
The two were then traded once more in 1988 when Purefods sent Fernandez to San Miguel for Guidaben who just won his second MVP a year before.
Fernandez, who ultimately won four MVPs, and Guidaben were so intertwined that the former won 19 titles and the latter wasn’t far behind with 16.
Fernandez is also the all-time leader in points and rebounds in league history while Guidaben is second at statistical categories.
Though Standhardinger and Slaughter are miles away from the careers of the two pioneering big men, Cone said the younger generation will still produce what they can.
Cone said he expects Slaughter to produce bigger numbers as the Batang Pier’s new focal point in the middle while he doesn’t see any problems for Standhardinger getting acclimated to his system.
“I believe Greg will go to NorthPort and put up much bigger numbers than he had at Ginebra and elevate that team. On the other hand, C-Stand’s strengths will fit well with what Ginebra needs as a team.”
Cone also expects the club’s fans to gravitate towards Standhardinger as the 6-foot-9 big plays with a similar style to the bruisers of old.
“I think the Gin fans will appreciate his style of play. He’s a throwback to the Ginebra players of old.”
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