The Alaska Aces have further bolstered its backcourt, adding lethal combo guard RJ Jazul from the Air 21 Express in exchange for rookie guard Eric Salamat and a second round pick in the 2012 draft.
The second-year Jazul, a former star at Letran, was having a breakout season, averaging nine points, three rebounds, and three assists of 36 percent shooting from beyond the arc for the Express this season while playing both guard positions. He is expected to back up Alaska superstar guard LA Tenorio and add a three-point shooting dimension to the Aces’ guard line.
“I really like RJ because he can play backup point guard with efficiency,” wrote Alaska coach Luigi Trillo in a text message to InterAKTV. “He has a good shooting touch as well and he will settle our second group. I’ve seen him play with (SMART-Gilas Pilipinas), played with Rain or Shine and Air 21, and he did pretty well too. He brings us stability in our point guard spot.”
Salamat, a rookie out of Ateneo, has seen limited playing in his first season, averaging less than three points on less than 10 minutes per game.
This is the second trade for the Aces after Trillo took over as interim coach before the conference. Alaska sent Jay-R Reyes to Meralco for power forward Gabby Espinas days before the Governors’ Cup.
“It’s beneficial for both teams,” said Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren. “We’re looking for an aggressive player, and Salamat can provide that for us.”
For Air 21, the move might be a precursor for plans by the Express to acquire the services of Barako Bull guard Wynne Arboleda.
“We need a point guard, which is why we’re trying to get Wynne,” Pumaren said in an earlier interview. “I expect movements this week.”
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