IN a draft class expected to be loaded with talented guards, Jake Pascual hopes to be noticed especially by teams looking to beef up their big man rotation.
Although rather undersized for the frontline at 6 feet 4, the Gilas Pilipinas cadet forward can be a big man option in an aspirants pool that could feature Fil-American guard Stanley Pringle, Fil-Italian playmaker Chris Banchero and twice UAAP MVP and former National University star Bobby Ray Parks.
“Sa akin, lagi ko lang pong pinagdadasal na makalaro ako sa PBA. Kung sino man ang mag-pick sa akin, basta para sa akin, makapasok ako sa PBA eh okay na sa akin,” the 25-year-old Pascual told Spin.ph on Tuesday, shortly after Gilas Pilipinas’ practice.
Pascual’s NLEX teammates led by Kevin Alas, Garvo Lanete, Ronald Pascual, Rome de la Rosa and Kyle Pascual are also expected to enlist for the draft
GlobalPort, which owns the No. 1 pick for this year’s rookie draft on August 24, is said to be eyeing Pringle, a combo guard from former ABL champions Indonesia Warriors.
Rain or Shine, a guard-heavy squad, picks second in the draft although team officials have refused to give a hint on what they need or want.
For now, Pascual said he’s thankful for the pointers he’s getting from the Gilas veterans, where he was tapped to join the national squad’s practice the past week.
“Magandang experience din ito (part of Gilas pool) sa akin kasi ang dami kong natututunan sa mga Gilas veterans,” said Pascual, who won Best Player of the Conference honors in last year’s PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
“Saka makikita mo na kahit superstar na sila, pero ganun pa rin sila magtrabaho,” added the player from Ramos, Tarlac.
Pascual said he has high respect for coach Yeng Guiao, who, despite his outspoken nature during games, has brought Rain or Shine to its second Finals stint this season.
“Sa tinatakbo ng Rain or Shine, tingin ko ibang klase mag-motivate si coach Yeng. Eh kasi fullhouse na ang San Mig pero umabot pa ng Game Five,” noted the former San Beda Red Lion power forward.
But how about playing for Guiao, who is known as a tough drillmaster?
“Marami rin akong naririnig about kay coach Yeng, pero ako, ready naman maglaro at mag-adjust,” he said. “But I’ll be ready anytime kung Rain or Shine kasi kulang daw sila sa bigs.”