IF Kyles Lao is to make himself available for the coming PBA Rookie Draft, he is certainly getting the proper training playing alongside one of the pro league’s top guards in the past.
Lao serves as budding protégé of four-time PBA All-Star Roger Yap at Manila Stars in the MPBL Datu Cup, a role the former University of the Philippines star certainly welcomes.
The Stars so far have been showing the way in the tough Northern Division, with Lao perfectly complementing the Stars’ solid backcourt rotation made up of Yap, Marcy Arellano, and Chris Bitoon.
Midway in the regular season, the 23-year-old Lao is averaging 8.4 points and 1.7 assists, while shooting 52 percent from the floor, numbers which he attributed from learning a lot from the 41-year-old Yap, who won three championships while playing for the Purefoods franchise and was a Mythical First Team member during the 2005-06 season.
“He’s very supportive and helpful to us young players considering his stature as a player before,” said Lao of the Cebuano guard, a PBA Mythical Second Team and All-Defensive Team member in 2009-10.
Lao, a former UAAP Rookie of the Year, wouldn’t say yet whether he’ll make himself available for the Dec. 16 draft, although playing together with Yap is certainly a big help to improve his stock.
To his benefit too, Lao is likewise being handled at Manila by a PBA great himself, Philip Cezar.
“I’m very thankful to coach Philip for his trust and confidence,” said the 5-foot-10 guard of his legendary coach.
“That has been my approach ever since, to be ready to play and contribute every time coach gives me the playing time,” he added. “I’ll just continue to play my game and keep aggressive in our next games as we aim for a playoffs berth.”
Lao stressed he isn’t concerned if the coming draft is a guard-heavy roster. He can’t go wrong after all, with two PBA champion players guiding him.