Phoenix trades first round pick Jun Gabriel for Kia’s second round pick next year

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JUN GABRIEL, the 6-foot-7 center out of Colegio de San Lorenzo, hasn’t played a single PBA game yet, but he has already found himself shipped to his third team in the pro league.

Picked in the first round by TNT, he was immediately sent to the Phoenix Fuel Masters for Sidney Onwubere, but after receiving a tender offer from his new squad, the pride of Pangasinan, who also played for Sta. Lucia Realty in the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League, the versatile big man instead found himself traded to the Kia Picanto side.

New Fuel Masters coach Louie Alas confirmed the news to BusinessWorld.

“We’ve decided to trade him for Kia’s own second round pick in the 2018 Draft,” Mr. Alas said in a telephone interview. “We wish him (Gabriel) good luck.”

The Fuel Masters lost their preseason game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 95-91, just recently, but saw a lot of promise with the new system being employed by the squad.

From a team that runs a dribble-drive offense, Phoenix has become more of a defensive oriented unit under Mr. Alas, using a variety of pressing defense.

“That’s been my calling card. Me and (assistant coach) Topex Robinson share the same vision for the team and that’s what we intend to do this coming season,” added Mr. Alas.

The Fuel Masters got a solid games from Jeff Chan, recruited by the squad late last season, as well as new recruits LA Revilla and rookie Jason Perkins.

This season, Alas has a modest goal for the team and that is to improve from last season’s finish.

“We don’t want to put pressure on ourselves, but on the other hand, we are aware that we cannot keep up with our own success so we have to improve,” he added. — Rey Joble