• Beermen, Batang Pier swap rookies

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    Arnold Van Opstal (left) and Von Pessumal PHOTOS BY BOB DUNGO JR.

    After winning two straight titles with San Miguel Beer, rookie big man Arnold Van Opstal won’t be part of the Beermen’s chase of the rare grand slam as he was traded to GlobalPort for shooting guard Von Pessumal.

    The trade was approved by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Office on Monday as the 6’9 Van Opstal, a former De La Salle University standout, will now play under former Green Archers head coach Franz Pumaren.

    Danny Espiritu, who handles the careers of Van Opstal and Pessumal with his son Marvin, said the trade would open a lot of opportunities for both players.

    “The trade will give Arnold a fresh start in his career after staying most of the time on the bench. GlobalPort badly needs a big man and I believe that’s a good opportunity for him,” the elder Espiritu told The Manila Times on Monday.

    Pessumal had a solid stint with Batang Pier as a back-up shooting guard and now he has to fight for his playing minutes in the rich San Miguel lineup.

    “For Von, I think he has to prove his worth in the team. I believe he will be a crucial part in the grand slam bid of San Miguel,” added Espiritu.

    Van Opstal saw action in just seven games in the first two conferences as he was the fourth center in coach Leo Austria’s center rotation behind June Mar Fajardo, Jay-R Reyes and Yancy de Ocampo.

    He averaged 1.86 points and 2.14 rebounds in his short stint with the Beermen.

    Pessumal, on the other hand, registered 5.67 points and 2.42 rebounds in 13 games in the last conference for the Batang Pier.

    Van Opstal and Pessumal will debut in their new teams in the coming Governors’ Cup, which kicks off on July 19.

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