Versatility is Chris Newsome's trump card as he weighs place in PBA draft order
All eyes were on Chris Newsome in the PBA Draft Combine with top prospects Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario absent. Jerome Ascano

CHRIS Newsome deflected the spotlight to the rest of his fellow rookie hopefuls who showed up in the PBA Gatorade Draft Combine at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

With projected top picks Troy Rosario and Moala Tautuaa not around owing to their stint with the national team currently training in Estonia, all eyes were on Newsome, who is likewise expected to be a lottery pick when the league holds its annual draft on Sunday at Robinsons Place Manila.

The Filipino-American wingman insisted though, he didn’t feel any pressure to perform and stand out.

“I just wanted to come out and get my feet wet as far as being in this environment around all these people that are constantly in the PBA atmosphere (is concerned),” he said.

But Newsome appeared reluctant to embrace the limelight during the two-day rookie camp, instead offering praise to his fellow deserving counterparts.

“A lot of people might think that I’m one of the best athletes in the camp, but then you can’t take anything away from the rest of these guys because they’re fantastic athletes also,” the 25-year-old cager said.

“They’re just as quick. They’re just as fast,” the former Ateneo standout added. “Some of them even jump a lot higher than I can, so you can’t take that away from them.”

The 6-foot-2 Newsome wound up with a 39-inch maximum vertical leap, only the fourth highest and four inches behind highest leaper Ryan Wetherell, who stands 6’0”.

“Ryan, just because of his size, a lot of people might downsize him and say he’s not that athletic or not that fast. But he showed today that he is capable of doing such things,” Newsome said of the less heralded Wetherell, who also topped the ¾ court sprint and lane agility drill.

Still, Newsome is confident of his own capabilities, believing he can make an impact to any team that will select him owing to his versatility.

“If you need me to come in and play the point guard position, (I can),” he beamed. “If I need to be the three (small forward) guy, be a defensive stopper, I’m willing to do that also.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos