GLOBALPORT admitted it was surprised to see Roi Sumang available deep in the third round of the PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday afternoon, but was glad to tab the former UAAP standout at No. 26 overall.
Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio said he had pencilled in Sumang as a first-rounder in his pre-draft projections - a sentiment shared by most fans who followed the proceedings at Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila.
No wonder Jarencio was pleasantly surprised to see teams snub the former University of East star until the Batang Pier's turn came to pick for the first time in the 2015-2016 draft.
“Actually, kung aabot kami sa kanya, ipipick talaga namin siya,” Jarencio, a former PBA star who cut his coaching teeth in the UAAP with University of Santo Tomas, said. “Sa sequence nga namin, si Roi, nasa first round."
Sumang, a 5-8 guard raised in Tondo, was the undisputed leader of the Red Warriors in the UAAP but had a tumultuous final season with the team before deciding to sit out the coming season of the college league.
Jarencio said he, too, was at a loss on why Sumang wasn't picked much earlier.
"Siguro may nakita silang (ibang teams) mas gusto nilang players. Kami naman, talagang nag-aabang lang,” said the former Ginebra guard. “Everything is falling into place.”
Sumang said he didn’t mind being picked late in the draft.
“Okay lang sa akin. Hindi naman ako nage-expect. Hindi rin naman ako naniniwala sa mock draft. Sa akin, okay lang basta ma-draft ako,” said Sumang.
Sumang will now join a crowded backcourt that includes Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, but Jarencio believes Sumang can find his place since he will be bringing in something different to the team.
“Combo guard naman ‘yung mga guards namin, hindi katulad ni Roi na talagang nag-popoint (guard),” said Jarencio.
Sumang said he will simply try to live up to the team’s trust.
“Okay lang sa akin. Basta gagawin ko ‘yung best ko sa team,” said Sumang.