WITH fellow expansion team Mahindra Enforcers making significant progress in the offseason, the pressure is now on Blackwater Elite to keep up - if not go one better - in the coming PBA campaign.
But with the roster the team has, sources from the team told Spin.ph the Dioceldo Sy-owned franchise will be hard-pressed to beat the Enforcers in one of the games they will play this coming season.
"Medyo mabigat ang hamon sa amin kasi talagang underdog kami sa lineup," said the source.
With their last first-round draft rights traded to Talk 'N Text which named hard-banging Gilas Pilipinas reserve Moala Tautuaa as the top pick overall, Blackwater lost the chance to vastly improve a frontline that will now rely on JP Erram, newly acquired center James Sena and rookie Art dela Cruz.
Bambam Gamalinda, Jason Ballesteros and Frank Golla are the other holdovers in a frontline tasked to hold the fort against dominant big men June Mar Fajardo, Asi Taulava, and Raymond Almazan, comebacking Ian Sangalang and the Talk 'N Text pair of Troy Rosario and Tautuaa.
"Mabigat talaga but we have to make do of what we have," said the source.
The Blackwater backcourt has at least been upgraded with the acquisition of former La Salle star guard Almond Vosotros and the arrival of former Barako sniper Carlo Lastimosa and veteran Mike Cortez.
The coaching staff has also gained experience with the arrival of former Barako coach Bong Ramos, who will assist head coach Leo Isaac along with fellow deputies Boy Sablan, Pat Aquino, Junjie Ablan, Aries Dimaunahan and Tylon Darjuan.
"We still need to improve. So we want to see how it pans out when the season kicks off," he added.
Sy has at least vowed to keep their future picks and avoid the mistake of trading it again, so the team can start rebuilding in the future.
"We will be holding on to our draft picks for the next two to three years," Sy said. "We will not trade any of our future draft picks. We will concentrate on building the team."