EVEN if it meant setback to the team's bid for back-to-back D-League championships, Blackwater has given at least four of its key players the blessings to join the coming PBA Rookie Draft.
Coach Leo Isaac said management is not standing in the way of big men Justin Chua and Isaac Holstein, Robby Celiz, and Joseph Marata who have decided to turn pro ahead of the team’s campaign in the Aspirants’ Cup.
The Elite are fresh from bagging the Foundation’s Cup crown and bidding to become only the second team to win a second straight championship after powerhouse NLEX.
“We encouraged them, we won’t hold back any players who want to seek greener pasture,” said Isaac in the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate.
The Blackwater mentor said he hopes all four players would be drafted and signed. But in case any of them failed to hook up with PBA ballclubs, Isaac made it clear that they’re always welcome to return to the Elite’s fold.
“To those who won’t be signed by any PBA teams can always go back to Blackwater. Welcome pa rin sila sa amin,” the former Barangay Ginebra stalwart said.
“But I wish my players the best. Sana nga makuha sila.”
Without mentioning names, Isaac said the Elite already had back-up players waiting in the wings just in case they lose any of their stalwarts to the pro league.
“We already had an excess of two to three players just in case those who applied for the draft will be signed,” he stressed.
And despite the dilemma the team is facing, Isaac remains confident Blackwater will be in the running for a championship in the season-opening conference.
“Positive outlook ang team kahit ma-draft sila. We still have that goal of going for back-to-back titles,” the Elite coach added.