LOYALTY is what AMA Online Education put premium on when it chose to stay at home and picked Reed Baclig as the top overall selection in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft.
Titans assistant coach Edwin Ancheta explained his team's decision to take in the 5-foot-7 guard, in contrast to their earlier plans of taking in Fil-Am forward Jamie Malonzo.
"Reed Baclig is a homegrown talent namin. From elementary hanggang ngayon, sa amin pa rin naglalaro. Yun ang pinagbasehan ni coach Mark (Herrera). Kumbaga loyalty award nung bata," he said.
Malonzo, meanwhile, slid to no. 2 and was happily taken in by Marinerong Pilipino.
Baclig, 17, joins the roster of no. 1 selections made by AMA after Jeron Teng (2017), Owen Graham (2018), and Joshua Munzon (2019).
But he's just one of the handful of homegrown players the Titans took, with Herrera looking at familiarity as they hope for a better showing this 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.
"Tiwala kami. Puro bata, pero walang problema, walang sakit sa ulo. Hindi na kami magiisip kasi nandito na eh," said Ancheta.
AMA understands the talent it missed on by not picking Malonzo, but Ancheta sees it as an opportunity to test the full strength of the Titans against much-favored foes.
"Although sayang kasi may pangalan yung Malonzo, mas naka-focus ngayon sa school-based namin dahil yun ang mas gusto namin i-develop," he said.