The TNT KaTropa is not content with its ongoing unbeaten streak as it is set to add gunner Mike DiGregorio after agreeing to trade stocky playmaker Brian Heruela to Blackwater.
Blackwater team governor Silliman Sy confirmed that a trade deal has been struck with TNT after the games in Antipolo.
"The agreement was (done) after last night's (Friday) game," Sy said in a short response to ESPN5 Saturday. "I believe it (trade paper) is to be submitted today (Saturday)."
The KaTropa captured their seventh straight win to start the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup after spanking the Alaska Aces, 99-93 Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Elite, meantime, saw their two-game winning run come to a halt after bowing to the Meralco Bolts, 106-97.
Should the PBA office formally approve of the deal, the Fil-Italian DiGregorio and Heruela then, would have played their final game for their respective squads.
DiGregorio came off the bench to score 22 points in the Elite's nine-point loss to the Bolts as they dropped to 2-4 overall.
In a message to ESPN5.com, DiGregorio said the trade "wasn't a surprise to me" even as he thanked the Elite for helping his career flourish.
"I had known for a while that TNT was trying to get me. I'm really grateful and thankful to Blackwater for all the opportunity they gave me the past three years. I was able to show what I could do and I really made a name for myself in the PBA . To being invited to All Star weekend, being nominated for the Most Improved Player award, to winning a PBA press corps award. All of that wouldn't have been possible without Blackwater giving me the opportunity.
"I understand also that basketball is a business and this is part of the business. I'm really excited to be a part of TNT and try and help them get over the hump and win another championship. That's the ultimate goal."
DiGregorio also said he was looking forward to playing alongside TNT star Jayson Castro.
"I'm really excited to play alongside such a great and unselfish player like him. Having played against him over the years I know how much he looks for his teammates and how great he is at breaking down the defense so I'm super excited to be on the receiving end of his passes. He's also a multi-champion and has played in so many big games, so I can definitely learn a lot from him and I'm just going to try and soak up as much knowledge as I can from a great veteran like that."
KaTropa coach Bong Ravena told ESPN5.com that DiGregorio will fit well into their offense.
"Three-point shooting is a huge part of our offense," Ravena said. "We have identified Mike as being one of the most consistent shooters in the PBA from distance. Both off the dribble and off the pass. He spaces the floor and gives more room for our other players to attack. He will also be good in our defensive system."
"Brian gave his best effort with us," added TNT active consultant Mark Dickel. "And we thank him. DiGregorio gives us a veteran. Knows how to play. Spaces the floor. He will be good in our defensive system."
Heruela, meanwhile, just came back from a shoulder injury and contributed three markers, three rebounds and the same number of assists in TNT's win over Alaska.
It would be a homecoming for Heruela as Blackwater made the Cebuano guard its 26th pick overall in the 2014 PBA Draft.
On the other hand, DiGregorio rose from obscurity since being selected 35th overall by Mahindra (now Columbian) in the 2015 PBA Draft.
The 27-year-old DiGregorio averaged 10.83 points, 1.50 rebounds, along with a scorching 65 percent from three-point zone this conference.