BARANGAY Ginebra coach Ato Agustin immediately heaped praise on surprise pick James Forrester, saying the former Arellano standout plays much like Globalport star Sol Mercado.
Forrester proved to be the biggest gainer in the PBA rookie draft at Robinsons Place Manila in Malate, going much ahead of more heralded college stars like Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Jeric Teng, and Nico Salva.
To get its hands on Forrester, Ginebra traded big men Rico Maierhofer and Willie Wilson to Barako Bull for the No. 4 pick overall - just three shades lower than the top selection overall which the Kings used on Greg Slaughter.
The selection surprised a lot of people on Draft Day but it made perfect sense for Agustin, who sees Forrester as both a big boost and star-in-waiting in Ginebra's crowded backcourt.
“Of course, may expectations ako especially with these two rookies (Slaughter and Forrester). Maganda nilalaro nila,” said Agustin on the sidelines of the draft proceedings.
“At wala tayong problema kay Greg. Si Forrester kita naman, energy at hustle, parang nakikita ko yung energy ni Sol Mercado sa kanya,” he added.
Despite getting two blue-chip prospects in the first round, Agustin was quick to temper expectations of the Ginebra faithful, saying the challenge now is to mesh all the talent into one cohesive unit.
“I hope na darating kami dun (championship), pero syempre, mage-ensayo kami, para i-jell yung team. Kailangan namin ng team effort dito,” Agustin said.