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Ellis to Blackwater, Dela Cruz to Ginebra in trade

Chris Ellis and Roi Sumang will become teammates. (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--In just one snap, what Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy once deemed as an "untradeable" Arth Dela Cruz is an Elite no more.

Dela Cruz, who is still recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, will play for Ginebra upon his return as part of a trade that was approved by Commissioner Chito Narvasa on Thursday, hours after initial reports about the trade surfaced.

The said swap also sent Raymond Aguilar, who has flourished with the Elite following a stellar D-League stint, to the Barangay.

In exchange, Blackwater got Chris Ellis and Dave Marcelo.

Dela Cruz has been the Elite's chief cornerstone when he was drafted ninth overall in the 2015 Draft, and even with them drafting Mac Belo the year later, Dela Cruz remained as their key player, leading him to a Gilas pool call-up.

That call-up, however, was short lived when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon right at his first practice with the national team.

On the other hand, Ellis, who has seen his playing time at the Barangay dwindling especially with the rise of Scottie Thompson and Kevin Ferrer, is expected to log in longer minutes for the Elite, teaming up with Belo in what would be an interesting wing rotation.

Joining Ellis at the Blackwater camp is Marcelo, who will add more muscle underneath.

Ellis and Marcelo are expected to be activated quickly by the Elite on Friday as they face the Kia Picanto at the Ynares Center in Antipolo at 4:15 p.m.

Kia also made a roster tweak of its own as it took in Geron Johnson to replace Markeith Cummings as the team looks to salvage what is left of its hopes of making the playoffs.

Johnson played college ball for Memphis in the US NCAA and began his pro career with Rio Grande Valley in the NBA G-League before playing one year in Lebanon.

In the other game at 7 p.m., TNT tries to book its third straight win against GlobalPort.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno