BY giving up James Forrester and Dylan Ababou in a trade on Tuesday, Barangay Ginebra cleaned house and bared a desire to start over under new coach Frankie Lim.
Forrester and Ababou are two gifted first-round draft picks who, for one reason or another, never really found their place in a Ginebra team that has undergone several facelifts under a variery of coaches over the years.
The trade signaled a willingness on the part of Ginebra to once again remake its roster, in the hope of finally putting together a team that could end a championship drought that extended to the 2008 Fiesta Conference.
The 2015 Barako Bull draft pick the Kings got in return for Forrester and Ababou may prove to be a valuable piece in that rebuilding process.
Barako Bull, you see, has failed to go deep in the playoffs in the first two conferences of the year. By all estimates, its first-round pick in the coming rookie draft should be in the top four, even going as high as No. 2 depending on the team's performance in the season-ending Governors Cup.
With the names expected to be in the 2015 draft class, here are some of the players Ginebra has a chance to get for Barako Bull's precious draft pick.
Ginebra is already loaded in its backcourt, but D-League watchers insist Enciso is worth a look for the Kings. Beaujing Acot, an analyst for ATC@IBC-13’s telecast of the PBA D-League, said the athleticism and quickness of the Notre Dame de Namur University Argonauts standout fits to the run-and-gun style of Ginebra.
“If you get Enciso, you are getting someone like a Mark Caguioa in the future,” Acot said.
The TV analyst said he believes Enciso can be an impact player with Ginebra or for any team for that matter, based on what he has been showing for Cebuana Lhuillier this season.
“When Mark Caguioa played in his rookie year, talagang ramdam mo siya kaagad sa court sa fastbreaks," said Acot. "When Enciso was having limited minutes with Cebuana, the team was having a hard time scoring. When Enciso got the minutes, he was averaging about 20 points in a game.”
The University of the East guard is another potential candidate for Ginebra, perhaps not for the No. 4 pick but for the other Ginebra selection in the first round. Acot, in fact, feels an Enciso-Sumang tandem may be a reincarnation of the 'Fast and Furious' tandem of Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand.
“It is like a second version of the Fast and the Furious,” Acot said, referring to a Enciso-Sumang tandem. “Alam naman natin na up-tempo basketball ang gusto ng Ginebra and Sumang also plays a ‘rah-rah’ style. ‘Yun ang magiging asset ng Ginebra.”
Skipping last year’s PBA draft to play in the D-League for one more season, Lanete now finds himself in line for a possible reunion with his former coach at San Beda, Frankie Lim. Familiarity with Lim’s coaching style will definitely play a part if ever Ginebra decides to pick him.
“We are talking about loyalty. ‘Yung familiarity, hinahanap din ‘yan ng mga coaches. Iba rin ‘yung may tiwala sa player,” Acot said.
Other than his past association with Lim, Lanete happens to be one of the best shooters in the 2015 class - a welcome addition, if ever, for a team that is looking to spread the floor to give Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar more room to operate inside.
“Kailangan nila ng shooter to surround Slaughter and Aguilar,” said one college coach. “And one of the best available shooters na papasok sa draft is Lanete and possibly Don Trollano (of Adamson and Cagayan Gerry’s)”
There is just one problem, though. Lanete has for so long been associated with the PLDT group, which may beat Ginebra and Lim to the draw in the coming draft.
With Ginebra already loaded in the bigs and guard positions, Ginebra may find use for a small forward like Mariano. According to Acot, Mariano, who plays for Tanduay Light in the PBA D-League, has the potential to become a very good playerin the mold of Ranidel De Ocampo - if he improves. He can also play multiple positions.
“On the slow break, Aljon Mariano can bring down the ball, he can play power forward, small forward, and off guard positions as well,” Acot said.
Incidentally, Mariano played for a former Barangay Ginebra player in Pido Jarencio during his UST days.
Basketball pundits believe Rosario is the next best player in the amateurs outside Moala Tautuaa and Bobby Ray Parks. If Ginebra plays the “best talent available” strategy in the draft, the former National University standout could very well be Ginebra’s man.
The now Hapee cager has seen tremendous improvement over the past few months, becoming a versatile player for the Fresh Fighters in the PBA D-League who could possibly play small forward after being a power forward and center during his time with the Bulldogs.
However, Rosario could be a duplication of sorts to the other players of Ginebra like Slaughter, Aguilar, or even Rodney Brondial. Most analysts Spin.ph talked to, however, thinks Rosario won't go outside the Top Three in the coming PBA rookie draft.
Moala Tautuaa and Bobby Ray Parks
If for some reason Ginebra gets the number one or two picks, the choice should come down to Tautuaa or Parks.
After a stint in the Asean Basketball League (ABl), Tautuaa made a big impact for Cagayan Valley, leading the Rising Suns to the finals before bowing to Hapee in the Aspirants Cup. Parks, on the other hand, is a two-time MVP of the UAAP who won the same award in the PBA D-League with Hapee last conference.
There is no doubt in the minds of experts Spin.ph talked to that Tautuaa and Parks will be the top two picks in the coming PBA draft. The question is, will Ginebra get a shot at signing any of them?