Wednesday, April 28, 2010 , Posted by dAVe at 2:40 AM
Just as everybody is taking the much-needed rest after the blockbuster PBA All-Star Festivities in Puerto Princesa over the weekend, Alaska Milk, in a stunning move, traded two-time MVP Willie Miller to Ginebra in exchange for Cyrus Baguio.
The deal was consummated yesterday and both parties claimed their teams will be better by the exchange.
Miller, the 5-foot 11 spitfire who earned the moniker the "Thriller," for his daredevil moves, adds a new dimension to a Ginebra team which, before he came on board, already teemed with star power.
Alaska coach Tim Cone said it was Miller who had sought for the trade, although no reason was given why the player asked to move to another team.
Cone said that he will surely miss Miller, whom he considers as "one of the real good guys in the league."
"He made it known to us for the last couple of years that he has wanted to be traded. It was only now that the Aces got what it felt a good deal," Cone said.
"I think it-s a good deal for us," said Joaqui Trillo, Alaska-s alternate governor to the PBA Board.
Miller is known as a prolific scorer and a fine closer � traits that landed him a spot in the Philippine team that finished 8th in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.
Baguio, who blossomed into a fine all-around player during his stint with Barako Bull before he was acquired by Ginebra last conference from Air21, was also a member of that team handled by coach Yeng Guiao.
Interestingly, Ginebra and Alaska battle each other at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
This will be Miller-s fourth team in the PBA after starting his pro career with Red Bull, which took him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft. He also played for Talk -N Text.
Miller, the PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2002 and 2007, will have as teammates reigning MVP Jayjay Helterbrand, Mark Caguioa, Ronald Tubid, and Celino Cruz.
Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico said that he would rather "wait and see" on how to utilize a talented player like Miller, who will have his first practice session Thursday with the Kings at the Green Meadows gym in Green Hills, San Juan.
So far this conference, the 32-year-old Miller averaged 17 point, three rebounds and 4.5 assists.
It-s interesting to see if the native of Olongapo City will start for Ginebra or will come off the bench behind Caguioa and Helterbrand.
Both Miller and Baguio earn maximum salaries of P350,000 and their contracts will expire at the end of July 2010.