Brgy. Ginebra picked up former Alaska guard MJ Ayaay from the unrestricted free agent pool on Monday in a move that was immediately confirmed by head coach Tim Cone through his Twitter account.
“We welcome newly signed MJ Ayaay to the Ginebra Family,” wrote Cone.
The 63-year old American mentor also expressed his excitement over the Gin King’s new backcourt combination featuring Ayaay and do-it-all guard Scottie Thompson.
“We’re looking forward to pairing him with Scottie in the backcourt,” said the league’s only 2-time Grand Slam winning coach.
Cone admitted that he already had his eye on the Lyceum star during the 2018 draft but the Aces beat him to the punch after the Wilfred Uytengsu-owned franchise selected him 9th overall.
“He was our target to draft when he came out from college, but Alaska beat us to him, so we’ve had our eye on him ever since. We just feel MJ is a guy who can fit into our system and flourish in our defense. We like his makeup, his length, and his toughness on defense,” explained Cone during an interview with ESPN5.
The 27-year old Ayaay played in all of Alaska’s 11 elimination round games in the 2020 Philippine Cup inside the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga and submitted averages of 2.64 points, 2.27 rebounds, 0.64 assists and 0.27 steals in 10.43 minutes of playing time. He had conference-highs of 8 points and 5 boards against TNT in the quarterfinals which also turned out to be the Aces’ final game of the compressed season.
The Gin Kings, who are coming off back-to-back successful title runs in the 2019 Governors’ and 2020 All-Filipino conference, are picking 12th in the first 2 rounds of the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft which is scheduled on March 14.