The next time Jamie Malonzo (No.3) takes flight, it will be with Justin Brownlee (left) and the Gin Kings. —PBA IMAGES

The next time Jamie Malonzo (No.3) takes flight, it will be with Justin Brownlee (left) and the Gin Kings. —PBA IMAGES

Coach Tim Cone couldn’t hide his enthusiasm over Barangay Ginebra’s major acquisition of talented sophomore forward Jamie Malonzo through a three-team trade the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) approved on the eve of its Commissioner’s Cup opener.

“Jamie is young, athletic, long and explosive. What’s not to like?” Cone said on Tuesday, hours after the league’s trade committee gave a thumbs up sign on the deal that enabled Ginebra to get Malonzo from NorthPort.


Cone has high hopes that the 26-year-old Malonzo could be a long-term fixture for Ginebra as it looks for championships, beginning with the mid-season tourney that will fire off on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bay Area Dragons from Hong Kong, competing as a guest team in the second conference, take on Blackwater at 3 p.m. before Malonzo’s former team NorthPort faces Phoenix in the nightcap at 5:45 p.m.


Ginebra won’t be playing until Sunday opposite Converge, with Malonzo expected to make an immediate impact in front of its legion of followers.

“He’s a player we can build around over the next several years,” Cone continued. “We had to give up a lot to get him. A marquee young player, a shooting big, plus our first round pick. It was an expensive get.”

Pessumal to Kings

Ginebra gave up four role players to complete the trade, with third-year forward Arvin Tolentino, backup center Prince Caperal, veteran shooter Jeff Chan and young guard Kent Salado to NorthPort.

NorthPort also got Ginebra’s first round pick in next season’s Rookie Draft.

But Ginebra also secured shooting guard Von Pessumal, who has been with San Miguel for the past five years but has been rarely used due to the deep, vaunted roster of the Philippine Cup champions.

In return, San Miguel picked up two second round draft picks in 2024 and 2025.



Cone said he has plans for Pessumal, who is capable of knocking down three-point shots when the opportunity arises. In June 2019, the ex-Ateneo mainstay made all eight threes in a game against TNT at Ynares Center in Antipolo City to set a new PBA record.

“Von has been stuck behind the great Marcio Lassiter for the last few years and hasn’t been able to carve out a consistent role and playing time with San Miguel,” Cone said.

“We’re going to give him that opportunity to carve out a role with us here and see where it takes him. Sometimes players just need a change of scenery. We’ll see if that holds true for Von.”

It is the latest trade involving Ginebra and NorthPort, which previously had high-profile swaps like the transfer of Stanley Pringle to the Gin Kings in 2019 and the Christian Standhardinger-Greg Slaughter exchange in 2021.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on Bay Area as it hopes to feed on a run of winning all nine exhibition games against PBA and collegiate squads, including three at the expense of Blackwater.

Bay Area will parade Myles Powell as import, a player Blackwater coach Ariel Vanguardia considers as a big dilemma.

“He’s a mismatch problem,” he said. “We have to apply team defense.”

Troy Rosario, acquired from TNT in a three-team trade joined by NLEX, is a game-time decision for Blackwater since he’s just over two weeks removed from playing for the Tropang Giga in the Philippine Cup Finals. INQ

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