DESPITE all the championships he had won in the past, Mikee Romero still felt butterflies in his stomach when he finally had the chance to grace his first ever PBA Annual Draft as team owner.
“Nakakapanibago,” admitted the owner of new team Global Port Batang Pier, as usual looking dapper and dashing in his coat and tie, shortly after the two-hour proceedings on Sunday held before a jampacked crowd at the Robinsons Midtown mall in Manila.
Romero’s league membership – after buying the Coca-Cola Bottlers Phil. Inc franchise lock, stock, and barrel - was only approved by the board last Friday, giving him, basketball operations executive Eric Arejola, and interim coach Glen Capacio just 48 hours to map out their plan for the Draft.
“Nakaka-nerbiyos, Iba pala ang feeling,” he said with a sigh of relief.
But at the end of the day, the sportsman-businessman knew his staff passed the test with flying colors.
“We’re very satisfied , we’re happy with our picks, ” Romero said.
The Batang Pier – the same franchise that won sixth straight titles in the defunct Philippine Basketball League – ended up with two consecutive picks in the first round. Already the owner of the No. 10 selection, the team traded away Sean Anthony to acquire the No. 9 pick as well as Val Acuna from B-Meg.
Global Port then used the two picks to tap former PBA D-League MVP Vic Manuel at ninth overall, and Fil-Am Jason Deutchman at No. 10.
“Ang importante kasi sa amin is inside threat, and it’s something Vic Manuel can provide to us on both ends of the floor,” said Romero, whose team has former Rookie of the Year Rabeh Al-Hussaini and veterans Ricky Calimag and Romel Adducul manning the frontcourt.
“Vic (Manuel) will be a key sa nucleus ng team namin,” added the young team owner, who has gunners Gary David and JV Casio for star players.
The Batang Pier also selected Alfred Mandin i (second round), Mark Anthony Acosta (3rd round), Jan Colina (4th round), and Virgilio Serios (5th round).
Asked if there will be any other movements within the team, he answered in the negative.
“Ito na lang muna,” Romero said.