BLACKWATER Sports is ending its pursuit of Chris Banchero for the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup conference but will still honor the endorsement deal made between the company and the crafty guard.
Head coach Leo Isaac said the team will follow league rules at the end of its first-ever draft, which saw Banchero being picked at No. 3 overall by Boracay Rum.
While the Elite lost the Fil-Italian whose services as a player and endorser they have acquired in the offseason, Isaac expressed satisfaction with their other new acquisitions from the draft.
“Wala na. Inabot kami ng proseso ng drafting so wala kaming magagawa,” said Isaac, whose team won the Foundation Cup last summer. “Kailangan naming sumunod sa rules ng D-League.”
“Nakuha si Banchero ahead of us, we have to focus on the other players that can fill up the space for Blackwater,” Isaac added.
Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy also wished Banchero the best after he was drafted by the Waves but added that the endorsement deal remains standing.
“We’ve moved on… We wish Banchero good luck,” said Sy in an SMS message to Spin.ph.
“Tuloy ang endorsement ni Banchero with us,” Sy added.
Banchero looked all set to see action for Blackwater Sports in the Aspirants Cup opening on October 24 after signing with the team following his stint with the San Miguel Beermen in the Asean Basketball League.
But when the league announced it will be holding a rookie draft for the first time after five conferences, Banchero had no choice but to go through the process.
Still, Isaac was glad to pick Cebu-based Andrew Avillanoza in the first round and Adamson’s Jericho Cruz in the second.
Isaac said he was impressed with Avillanoza after attending one of the team’s practices.
“Natatakot kami na baka maunahan kami kay Avillanoza. Hindi ko lang alam kung nakita na (ng ibang teams) kasi nag-practice sa amin isang araw, maganda ang laro,” Isaac said.
“For future considerations kaya kinuha namin siya na No. 1 pick. Nag-aanticipate din kami ng mga movements sa team namin kasi baka may mga magpa-draft (sa PBA),” he added.
Blackwater Sports will bring back Jeric Fortuna, who had a stint with San Miguel in the ABL. The team also retains its core with Rob Celiz, Justin Chua, Kevin Ferrer, Gio Ciriacruz, Pari Llagas, Bacon Austria, among others, staying with the squad.
For his part, Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson said he has no problem with Banchero having an endorsement deal outside the Asia Brewery company.
"Kahit pa sa 13 teams," said Chongson. "Kaibigan naman natin ang Blackwater. Si Boss Dioceldo, ninong ko sa kasal 'yan tsaka magkakaibigan kami niyan for the longest time."
"I'm sure, walang personalan. Trabaho lang," he added.
With a report from Richard Dy