AWARE that his team is not getting any younger, Barako Bull head coach Junel Baculi is looking at the upcoming PBA rookie draft as a chance to infuse new blood into his lineup before the pro league opens its new season on September 30.
At the moment, Baculi said he hopes to get a good point guard or, if that is not possible, tap the best available talent when it is the Boosters' turn to dip its hands into the 71-man draft pool on Sunday at the Robinsons Midtown Mall in Manila.
Petron had openly declared its desire to make 6’9” Cebuano center June Mar Fajardo as the top pick overall while San Sebastian forward Calvin Abueva is expected to go to Alaska as the second overall pick.
Barako Bull owns the No. 5 pick overall.
“My team is not getting any younger. I think we’re the oldest team right now in the league. So we need to inject young blood to get to work together with much of our veterans,” Baculi told Spin.ph.
With journeyman point guard Celino Cruz and Willie Miller now in their mid-30s, Baculi is looking to use its No. 5 pick in the first round by shore up its backcourt with a younger point guard.
Former Ateneo star Chris Tiu as well as Adamson alumni Jerick Canada and Lester Alvarez fit the bill for the Boosters’ needs, though Baculi said that won’t stop the team from picking the best rookie available when their turn arrives.
Fil-Ams Chris Ellis, Cliff Hodge and Alex Mallari are also in the Barako Bulls’ draft radar.
“Sa ngayon, magde-depende kasi ang magiging pick namin sa mga mauuna sa amin. We need to plug some holes in the team,” he added.
The Boosters finished the 2011-2012 season with a 14-18 win-loss card, their final game a bitter loss to Powerade in their knockout game in the Governors Cup that left them out of the playoff picture.