DESPITE the last-minute surge of high-quality guards in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao remains firm in his bid to upgrade the team’s frontline by drafting a big man.
The Elasto Painters own the third and ninth picks in the November 3 event, but are so far keeping their choices close to their chest as the team’s selections depend on which players the teams preceding them will pick.
“At this point, it’s really hard to say who we will pick because even the No. 3 is not sure for now because we don’t know who will be selected,” Guiao told Spin.ph as he monitors the rookie applicants who tried to beat the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday.
Guiao stressed the need to reinforce Rain or Shine’s frontline in the aftermath of the team’s failure to defend its Governors Cup crown - and the last-minute applications of blue-chip prospects RR Garcia, Terrence Romeo, and Jeric Teng won't sway him from that stand.
The Elasto Painters bowed to a souped-up Petron Blaze side in their best-of-five semifinals, 3-1, which saw Boosters rookie big man June Mar Fajardo dominate inside.
“Basta sa amin, ang gusto namin eh malaki,” said Guiao, whose team is actually leaning on lanky Letran slotman Raymund Almazan, should Barangay Ginebra make Gregory Slaughter the top overall pick and San Mig Coffee selects Ian Sangalang at No. 2 as projected.
At the same time, Guiao said should a high-quality rookie guard is still available by the ninth pick, the fiery mentor and Pampanga congressman said the Elasto Painters are also open to the idea of drafting one.
“Masasabi ko lang, depende kung quality guard kasi siyempre, loaded na kami ng guwardiya. Medyo mahirap din kasing i-predict at that point because we’re drafting deep in the first round after ng No. 3,” he added.
Should Barako Bull decide to tab UAAP standouts Garcia, Teng or Romeo, Rain or Shine still have other potential picks to choose from in Arellano’s James Forrester and former Ateneo standouts Nico Salva and Ryan Buenafe.
So far, Rain or Shine already has former Rookie of the Year Paul Lee, and Gabe Norwood, Tyrone Tang, Chris Tiu, and Ryan Arana.
The official draft order will have Ginebra picking first followed by San Mig Coffee and Rain or Shine. Barako Bull then selects from fourth to sixth, after which Globalport takes its turn, then Alaska, Rain or Shine, and San Mig Coffee.