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    Salem, Wong, Arim vying to fill role as designated shooter for teams that need one

    Dec 15, 2018
    Matt Salem, Adrian Wong, and Oliver Arim are looking to make their mark in the pros.
    PHOTO: marlo cueto

    THE search for the next Allan Caidic continues, and for the next wave of aspirants vying to enter the league, they are hoping they could fulfill that role for their future PBA teams.

    Matt Salem, Dan Wong, and Oliver Arim are just three of this batch's knockdown shooters, all of whom are hoping to ride their specialty to hear their names called on Sunday for the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.

    "I'm just gonna let it fly, you know. Shooters shoot," said Salem, the 6-foot marksman out of National University who also hoisted the trophy with Go for Gold this past PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

    "I'm not gonnna get upset with it if it's not falling. I just gonna keep on shooting and maximizing it. If I'm open, I'm gonna let if fly."

    Salem perfectly knows his role as a designated gunner, a rarity for a rookie, and if someone takes a chance on him, he hopes to replicate the role of what Klay Thompson has been doing for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.

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    "Look at Steph (Curry), look at Klay. That's what I'm trying to focus my game into, into playing like Klay," said the 25-year-old. "I'm just gonna keep on working on that. I want to be more consistent, and honestly, I have a lot of room for improvement on that."

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      Same is the mindset of Arim, a 6-foot-1 forward from Centro Escolar University, who understands how the game of basketball has changed.

      "Kita naman natin na nag-evolve na talaga yung laro ngayon, pina-pattern natin sa US lalo na yung Golden State. Kailangan talaga, may mga floor spacer," said the 23-year-old Batangueno.

      Arim knows that the game's evolution bodes perfectly for him as he hopes to become a three-and-D guy if given a chance in the PBA.

      "Pwede akong maging magandang floor spacer kapag nakaka-shoot ka sa labas, so yung mga main guys na aatake, nagkaka-space sila. Kapag hindi sila maka-drive, pwede nilang i-kick out sa akin."

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      Wong also has that confidence in him, knowing that if defenders leave him open, he has the ability to punish the opposition.

      "If they sag off, that's an automatic shot for me," said the 6-foot-1 shooter out of Ateneo. "I can spread the floor out for the other guards to drive in."

      One thing working for the 25-year-old Wong is that wherever he goes, he knows he can fulfill the same role as the team's reliable sniper, just like what he did with Bulacan Kuyas in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).

      "For every team I've been to, that's the primary reason why coaches pull me in the floor, to spread the floor out and create open lanes for guards," he said.

      All talk may be focused on the top recruits, but for Salem, Arim, and Wong, the advantage they have is they know what they can do and they do it well. Eugene Flores

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      Matt Salem, Adrian Wong, and Oliver Arim are looking to make their mark in the pros.
      PHOTO: marlo cueto
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