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PBA UPDATE – Early Player Trades of 2023

Jan 4, 2023

MANILA, Philippines – After serving San Miguel for four years, Paul Zamar is returning to Blackwater. Zamar is returning to his Blackwater home. 

After his contract with San Miguel expired at the end of 2022, the veteran guard, who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, returned to the organization that gave him his first PBA break. 

Zamar had been working out with Blackwater and is anticipated to sign either today or on Wednesday.

Meanwhile: Mike DiGregorio was repurchased by Blackwater, and Barkley Ebona was traded to Converge

Players that have previously worn uniforms for BLACKWATER and Converge are about to return. 

In the first deal the two teams made in 2023, Barkley Ebona went to the FiberXers to rejoin his former coach Danny Ildefonso while the Bossing acquired Mike DiGregorio. 

The 31-year-old DiGregorio spent his greatest years with the Blackwater team, where he averaged 12.4 points while shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc in order to win the Most Improved Player award in 2017–18. 

But in 2019, he was exchanged for Brian Heruela by TNT because shooting guard out of McKendree University Mark Dickel, a then-active consultant, had his eye on him.

However, his time with the telecommunications franchise only lasted for a conference before he was sent back to Alaska at the start of the 45th season in exchange for Simon Enciso, the same team that Converge would later buy outright. 

Alaska selected Ebona in the first round of the 2019 draft (fourth overall), and Ildefonso, the Aces’ big man coach at the time, is credited with helping him improve significantly as a player under the boards.

However, the 6-foot-6 Far Eastern University product played with the Aces for just one and a half seasons before being traded to the Bossing for Mike Tolomia and a 2022 second round pick midway through the 46th season, along with JVee Casio.

Moreover, Blackwater will receive a sizable amount from Converge. 

The Bossing exchanged Mike DiGregorio, RK Ilagan, and Tyrus Hill for Barkley Ebona and their first-round pick in the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft with Converge. 

The first round choice the FiberXers made was the result of a three-team deal with TNT and NLEX in March 2021. 

DiGregorio, 31, is returning to the organization headed by Ever Bilena, where he played from 2017 to 2019. The former Elite traded him to TNT in October 2019 in exchange for Brian Heruela. 

The 6-foot-1 Fil-Italian guard averaged 4.6 points per game last year. 

Alaska selected guard Ilagan, a 25-year-old spitfire, with the 31st overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The San Sebastian product averaged 9.6 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.9 rebounds at the Commissioner’s Cup. 

The 6-foot-5, athletic 25-year-old forward Hill struggled to get playing time with the FiberXers. 

Converge receives Ebona, a 6-foot-6 Cebuano who was chosen with the fourth overall pick in 2019. 

Blackwater received Ebona and Jvee Casio in exchange for Mike Tolomia and a choice. 

Ebona struggled to locate the meeting minutes from the Bossing. 

Converge is particularly interested in the 2023 pick due to the likelihood of a good draft. The FiberXers didn’t have a first-round pick until now for the October draft.

This is so far an interesting movement of players in the league, especially now that the finals are drawing closer and closer.

Fans, pundits, bettors surely better watch out as these changes will possibly bring a rather flavorful turn of events for teams involved with the trades. These are but initial movements and more may be expected as this is but initial ones early in the year 2023.

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