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Nard Pinto headed to Phoenix in trade for Eriobu, Alolino

Blackwater isn't done retooling for the upcoming 2019 PBA season.

The Elite agreed to trade vastly-improved playmaker John Nard Pinto to Phoenix in exchange for young forward Joseph Eriobu and Gelo Alolino.

Team owner Dioceldo Sy confirmed the deal to ESPN5, saying trade papers have been sent to the PBA.

"Yes, the trade is confirmed. Just waiting for the [PBA] office's approval," Sy said in a short response to ESPN5's query.

Pinto, the stocky guard out of Arellano U, is coming off his best season as a pro after averaging 11.6 points and 6.3 assists (both career bests), along with 3.9 rebounds in the 2018 Governors' Cup. He was instrumental in helping Blackwater place fifth in the season-ending tournament, joining forces with Mike DiGregorio, JP Erram and import Henry Walker.

Pinto said that he had a contract misunderstanding with Blackwater brass, one reason the Elite decided to ship him out.

"We didn't come to terms with management," Pinto said.

But the hardworking Filipino point guard said that, should the trade be approved, he'll embrace this new challenge in his PBA career.

"I know it will be a big adjustment, but I'm excited for the new environment and a new journey in my career," Pinto said. "Hopefully, I can contribute on playing defense and create plays."

Meantime, Alolino will get a chance to restart his PBA career anew after missing a huge chunk of action with Phoenix last season due to an assortment of injuries. A former National University Bulldog standout, Alolino has failed to show his true form since emerging as the second pick in the regular draft during the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft.

Eriobu was picked fourth in the regular draft in 2016 and was quickly traded by Mahindra (now Columbian Dyip) to Phoenix. The former Mapua stalwart played just four games in the Governors' Cup, averaging 5.5 points and 1 rebound. But his size and athleticism can come in handy for Blackwater, which dealt Erram to NLEX in a three-team deal that was approved by the PBA office before the new year.