Out with the old, in with the new. That appears to be the unspoken policy adopted by the GlobalPort Batang Pier as they signed in three rookies to replace three veterans—Mike Cortez, Billy Mamaril, and Rico Maierhofer—who were released as unrestricted free agents.
GlobalPort thus became the team with the biggest number of rookies ahead of the tentative Dec. 17 kickoff of the 43rd season of the PBA.
Joining the Batang Pier roster are the pair of 6’5” center-forwards Lervin Flores and Joseph Gabayni and 6’2” guard-forward Julian Sargent. They were three of the five rookies originally taken in by the Star Hotshots during the annual PBA Draft last Oct. 29. Right after the draft, Star traded the three to GlobalPort in exchange for promising Fil-Am guard Robbie Herndon and Gian Abrigo.
Flores was a slam dunk champion and star player of Arellano University, which finished runner-up to San Beda in last year’s NCAA last year. He has been described as “an aggressive scorer and rebounder who can also defend well inside.”
Sargent was a De La Salle stalwart in the UAAP who is regarded as a tough perimeter defender. Gabayni from Lyceum of the Philippines University earned a reputation in the NCAA as a wide-bodied defender and a force in the paint on offense.
Flores, Sargent, and Gabayni are expected to toughen GlobalPort’s roster where All-Stars Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle remain as the team’s one-two punch.
Both Flores and Sargent reportedly signed two-year deals with GlobalPort, while Gabayni signed a one-year contract. The amounts of the deals were not disclosed, but a company statement said all were “happy and satisfied.”
Also joining GlobalPort is guard Nico Elorde, the former Ateneo stalwart who is among a batch of players recently released by KiA as unrestricted free agents. Elorde signed a one-year contract with GlobalPort.
Fil-Palestinian 6’7” center Yousef Taha is also expected to rejoin the Batang Pier after he decided to leave the country last year to be with his family in Kuwait. The 29-year-old Taha has been seen practicing again with the Batang Pier.
Taha’s return would bolster GlobalPort’s frontcourt after management decided to drop veteran big men–Mamaril and Maierhofer—as well as Cortez.
That left only 6’6” Bradwyn Guinto and 6’4” Sean Anthony as the team’s frontliners with 6’9” sophomore Arnold Van Opstal remaining on the injured list.
Other players in the GlobalPort roster are Paolo Hubalde, Mark Cardona, Ryan Arana, Mac Baracael, Jonathan Grey, and Philip Paredes.
GlobalPort is also considering to sign 6’6” Fil-Swede Andreas Cahilig, who it selected in the second round of the draft this year.
Pido Jarencio is returning as GlobalPort head coach with Rensy Bajar as first assistant coach.