A DAY after Rain or Shine was dethroned as PBA Governors Cup champion, coach Yeng Guiao said picking a big man in next month’s Rookie Draft is a no-brainer especially with the way his team was manhandled by a Petron side led by rookie behemoth June Mar Fajardo.
With a chance to pick at No. 3 overall, Guiao said the Elasto Painters are dead-set on picking the best big man available in the draft pool to shore up their frontline currently manned by undersized centers Beau Belga and JR Quinahan.
“All teams look for big men, and there are available talents for this (year’s) draft, so it’s nothing unique or special for us. Even more for us, dahil our bigs are not that big, so we need size in our frontline,” Guiao told Spin.ph in the aftermath of Rain or Shine’s 3-1 loss in the semis to Petron on Monday night.
Air21 and Globalport, two teams expected to figure in this year’s lottery, will vie for the coveted top two picks although both the Express and the Batang Pier won’t get the chance to dip their hands in the expected bumper crop of rookies in the November 3 draft.
The Air21 pick is owned by Barangay Ginebra, owing to a previous player transaction, while Globalport already yielded its pick to San Mig Coffee.
Ginebra board representative Robert Non recently told Spin.ph the opportunity to draft a seven-footer like Greg Slaughter is hard to pass up, although sources said coaches of the league's most popular ballclub have their eyes set on the versatile Ian Sangalang.
Whichever way the first teams go, Rain or Shine will have a shot at either Slaughter, Sangalang, or 6-7 Letran star Raymund Almazan.
Guiao said he has had a chance to size up Almazan’s capabilities since the reed-thin slotman has joined Rain or Shine’s practice several times this year.
“Almazan is PBA material. Siguro, he will just need to get used to (playing in the PBA) dahil manipis ang frame niya so before he really gets effective, he’s gonna have to add a few more pounds, bulk up, and get used to the physicality,” said the fiery Elasto Painters mentor.
"Pero nakikita naman namin na di naman siya mahihirapan masyado."
Guiao said the 6-foot-7 Sangalang is also another attractive choice.
“To us, it doesn’t matter whether he’s (Sangalang) a four (power forward) or five (center). We have a use for a four or a five. He’s a smart player with a nice scoring touch,” he said.
Guiao said watching Sangalang play reminds him of legendary big man Ramon Fernandez, one of only two four-time MVPs in the pro league.
“Ang naalala ko parang si Ramon Fernandez, kasi matalino siya (Sangalang), marunong dumiskarte, and he doesn’t get rattled. Pero tingin ko rin, kailangan masanay sa banggaan at kailangan magpalaki ng katawan, pero among all the bigs, he’s the best scorer,” added Guiao.