Kia draft picks Taha, Romero star for Blazers, put on show for coach Capacio
Mark Romero, Kia's 40th pick in the last PBA draft, scored 18 points for the Blazers. Dante Peralta

THEY are already among luck enough to be picked in this year’s PBA Draft, but that didn’t stop Paolo Taha and Mark Romero from continuing to play like pro aspirants trying out to gain attention from scouts.

One reminder from College of St. Benilde coach Gabby Velasco was all it took.

“Being drafted is not a guarantee of a contract,” Velasco reminded the Blazers stars, who were picked by Kia in this year’s draft. “Your team is still observing you, so you cannot play lousy.”

Taha and Romero heeded the call to lead the Blazers to a 74-66 win over Lyceum in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday.

Ironically, part of the Pirates staff is Glen Capacio, who is the chief assistant of playing-coach Manny Pacquiao in Kia's maiden season in the PBA.

Taha, the 29th overall pick, pumped in a game-high 26 points, and was a rebound away from a double-double, while Romero, the 40th pick in the draft, chipped in 18 points, built around three triples, on top of three boards, two steals, and one block with just three minutes of rest.

Romero did his damage early, scoring 15 of his output in the first half, before Taha took over, firing 19 in the second half where the Blazers turned the game around and never looked back.

“The two did well,” Velasco said. They responded to my advice.”

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