Trade Grade: Is Star the biggest winner in Pascual-Dela Rosa swap?

The PBA Philippine Cup is well underway. A couple of teams are having a surprising and impressive starts (Phoenix, GlobalPort and Blackwater, which had a franchise-best 2-0 start). Meanwhile, there are some with less than stellar performances after a few games. Two of the underperforming teams are the Alaska Aces and Star Hotshots.

Therefore, it is not surprising for both teams to engage in a trade after only 3 games this conference. Both teams are not having the starts they envisioned, so maybe, this trade will help reverse their misfortunes.   

Now, here is a short take on that trade plus trade grades for each team:

Alaska Aces

Traded to Star: Rome dela Rosa (forward/guard)

Received from Star: Jake Pascual (forward/center)

The Alaska Aces are off to a slow start during the current Philippine Cup. In 3 games, their record is 1-2. Now, a major reason for their poor record can be directed towards their thinning frontline. The Aces are battling through injuries with their big men. They don’t have Sonny Thoss and Noy Baclao who are both injured.

Meanwhile, Calvin Abueva is playing hurt. He already missed 2 games, both losses and they won when he came back. The Beast played even though his muscle tear was not 100% healthy and the injury still painful because Alaska needed bodies and wins.

Thus, to compensate for their holes upfront, the Aces figured that trading a backcourt player, Rome dela Rosa, for a serviceable big man, Jake Pascual, would help Alaska. This trade made a lot of sense for Alaska especially since dela Rosa has not played for them this season due to injury.

Yet, even if he was healthy coming into this conference, there was no guarantee that dela Rosa would get opportunities to play because he was not a regular part of their rotation.

In 2 years with the Aces, he averaged 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in under 12 minutes per game. Furthermore, Alaska might be doing dela Rosa a favor by trading him to a team that might be able to give him more minutes.

With their acquisition of Jake Pascual, the Aces have an additional forward/center who can bang in the paint and defend in the low post.

Moreover, the presence of another big man to give Abueva and Manuel some rest is the most important thing for the Aces. Pascual won’t be relied on to replace their offensive punch, but he can be counted on to rebound, defend, set screens, give hard fouls and maybe score sometimes.

Trade Grade: B+

Star Hotshots

Traded to Alaska: Jake Pascual (forward/center)

Received from Alaska: Rome dela Rosa (guard)

Similar to the Aces, the Hotshots are struggling early to get wins this conference. They are also 1-2 which placed them below the top 8 eligible for the playoffs. The Hotshots are probably banking on the addition of dela Rosa to help them replace and make up for the departures of Alex Mallari and RR Garcia.

Star has a lot of big men placed ahead of Jake Pascual in the depth chart.

Pascual averaged 3.1 points and 3.3 rebounds, which are modest numbers because he received the least minutes among the team.

That is not a surprise given that Star has Aldrech Ramos, Ian Sangalang, Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and Rodney Brondial. It was simply a nightmare to find him minutes in a crowded frontline. Moreover, Pascual will find it harder to crack the lineup when imports are invited to play during the second and third conferences. Maybe, the Hotshots are doing Pascual a favor by trading him to a team that will surely give him more minutes to excel and produce.

Now, dela Rosa will most likely help the Hotshots more because he can play either shooting guard or small forward. He is not expected to start and his most likely role will be to give Allein Maliksi a breather every now and then. Plus, dela Rosa can be used to defend taller and bigger perimeter players. He is not expected to score a lot, but he can defend and he will hustle. He can also hit the occasional jumper, but he is a better slasher and finisher.

Lastly, dela Rosa could be groomed as a possible replacement for the minutes that PJ Simon might leave on the table. Simon is just averaging 13 minutes and he might be on his way out, either via trade or retirement.

Trade Grade: B

Final Thoughts

In summary, this trade was good for both teams. They received players that they can utilize and both dela Rosa and Pascual can help their new teams immediately. Now, a slight advantage goes to Alaska because they have a more pressing need for another big man compared to Star needing another wing player. – Rolly Mendoza

Follow this writer on Twitter: @rollzter

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