HAPEE's personnel problems in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup has become a blessing in disguise for Chris Newsome.
The former Ateneo star has become the main cog of the Fresh Fighters in a tumultuous campaign that saw key players leave for the Southeast Asian Games and then get injured during the finals against Cafe France.
Although Hapee lost in a championship series that went the distance, Newsome admitted the exposure will not hurt his chances in the PBA rookie draft set on August 23.
“I think my draft stock will, if anything, it’s gotten more publicity because I am getting more playing time because of our lineup,” Newsome said shortly after Cafe France wrapped up its first D-League championship.
“I’m forced to play a lot of minutes, so a lot of the PBA coaches are able to see me and what I can do,” the Fil-Am guard added.
With Troy Rosario, Baser Amer, and Scottie Thompson suiting up for the Gilas cadets in the Southeast Asian Games, the spotlight fell on Newsome who led the Fresh Fighters to the finals.
Ola Adeogun and Amer then suffered injuries in the first and second games of the finals, respectively, while fellow San Beda Red Lions, Ryusei Koga and Art dela Cruz also sat out the title decider to prepare for NCAA’s opening game on Saturday.
Newsome said the absence of Hapee's key players in the 56-55 loss to Cafe France on Thursday is “not really an excuse,” adding the Bakers’ deserved to win the championship.
“They came off and knocked us two games straight, so I mean that says they have a really good game plan for us," Newsome said. "They made some really good adjustments.”