BRADWYN Guinto’s current performance suggests he should’ve gone earlier in this year’s draft, but Mahindra coach Chito Victolero believes his rookie’s draft position was justified – not for anything, but just for the Enforcers to get him.
The rookie big man, the second pick in the second round and 14th overall, continued to make a solid impression for the Enforcers, tallying 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 13 boards, three blocks, one steal, and one assist in 33 minutes in the 101-97 loss to Talk ‘N Text on Saturday.
While believing Guinto is better than his draft position suggests, Victolero was glad the San Sebastian stalwart was still available in the second round.
“Kung earlier siya (na pick) sa draft, baka hindi namin siya nakuha, ‘di ba? So okay na rin yan,” he said with a smile. “Yung nga ang pinagdadasal ko eh, sabi ko, ‘Wag muna, wag muna’ (siya makuha). Yun, buti nakuha namin siya. Swerte.”
Ironically, Mahindra (formerly KIA) came under fire when they traded the No. 2 pick days before the draft to Talk 'N Text, which used the pick on the 6-7 Rosario.
“Parang tumama kami sa lotto,” Victolero added.
The 6-foot-6 Guinto, stepping up in the absence of Kyle Pascual (fever), stood his ground against top picks Mo Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, but stressed he wasn’t trying to make a statement against the fellow rookie slotmen.
“No (statement game),” the Orani, Bataan-born, Australia-raised cager said. “I just keep telling myself just play defense and just let the rest take care of itself.”
Being picked relatively late in the draft actually eases the pressure off Guinto.
“Yung pressure, it’s on them (Tautuaa, Rosario),” he said. “I feel good. (My teammates) just keep encouraging me and giving me confidence so it makes it a lot easier.”
Victolero believes Guinto, who turned 24 last October 20, has only scratched the surface of his potential.
“He works hard. I think madami pa siyang ipapakita.”