How Phoenix Super LPG managed to get Javee Mocon from Rain or Shine Elasto Painters

After a weeks-long impasse in negotiations between both sides, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters were finally able to find a new team for forward Javee Mocon on Monday — with Phoenix Super LPG agreeing to take the 27-year-old forward in exchange for forward Nic Demusis and their first-round pick in the Season 48 draft and second-round pick in the Season 49 draft.

The trade was formally approved by the PBA Selection Committee on Tuesday. It was the end result of a long, drawn-out and ultimately futile discussion between Mocon and Elasto Painters management on a new contract after the player’s original rookie deal expired at the end of last season.

Unable to reach an agreement, the Elasto Painters made it known that they were open to a sign-and-trade with other teams to prevent them from losing the talented forward for nothing. Enter the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

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Discussions between the two teams started several weeks ago, and gained traction around the time of the Rookie Draft, according to Fuel Masters head coach Topex Robinson.

“It had been there for a while,” Robinson told ESPN. “Obviously Javee is a name (player), but as far as we were concerned, we were not on the lookout. But his name kept popping up, so I asked Bugs (Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia) to explore it. Through constant calls with boss Caloy (Garcia, Rain or Shine director of basketball operations), the conversation reached a good ending.

“The serious talk, it only happened before or around the time of the draft. Talagang usapang seryoso na. At the end of the day, we were able to compromise. They got what they want and we got what we want. In fairness to Rain or Shine, they really wanted for Javee to play. It just so happened that they wanted to get something out of it. We were able to provide that need.”

In Mocon, Phoenix is ​​getting a versatile player who can play both forward spots and score from close range and beyond the arc.

In 24 games last season, Mocon put up per-game numbers of 11.8 points on 35/32/69.1 shooting, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.4 turnovers in 32.7 minutes. For his career, the 6th overall pick of the 2018 draft has averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game.

The acquisition of Javee Mocon has bolstered Phoenix Super LPG’s forward stocks ahead of the potential departure of star man Matthew Wright to Japan. PBA Media Bureau

“We were looking for that position,” Robinson explained. “Right now we want to go deep in our rotation. In the All-Filipino conference, Javee can play the 4 (power forward). It gives us a wider option at that position.”

Mocon’s entry also puts the Fuel Masters in a better position should star guard Matthew Wright walk away at the end of his contract on Aug. 31. Wright is reportedly headed for Japan.

“We’re aware of the possibility that this might be Matt’s last conference with us, so we’re just preparing on our end,” Robinson said.

While Mocon’s addition is definitely a plus for Phoenix, losing Demusis is “bittersweet”, according to Robinson. The second-year player didn’t put up big numbers in his rookie year, and although he helped in other ways, it was likely he wouldn’t get too much playing time with the Fuel Masters.

“Nick is a really good locker room guy,” Robinson said. “He might not see any minutes with us. So rather than keep him, I think he has a better chance with Coach Chris (Gavina). Player niya sa Bacoor (in the MPBL).

“We also have Sean Anthony who also plays the 4 position. It’s an opportunity for Nick to play, because (his playing time with us) might be limited. So I think it’s good for him to go to a team where he has a better chance of being used.”

Demusis, the 18th overall pick in the Season 46 draft, averaged 2.9 points on 50.9 FG% and 2.9 rebounds in 10.0 minutes of playing time over 23 games for the Fuel Masters last season.

Robinson said Mocon, who observed the Fuel Masters’ practice on Tuesday morning, might see action when Phoenix makes its season debut on Wednesday against the San Miguel Beermen.

“We could try him, but obviously he’s been out for a while. If not, our next game is Saturday (against Meralco), so most likely on Saturday. It might take a few days.”

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