Fourth-round pick Keith Agovida impresses in long-delayed PBA debut
Blackwater rookie Keith Agovida once scored 82 points in the NCAA juniors division for Jose Rizal University. Jaime Campos

LOOKS like the wait was worth it for Keith Agovida.

The rookie forward, who decided to apply for the draft this year after withdrawing his application last season due to the depth of the class, impressed in his PBA debut on Friday in Blackwater’s 90-86 loss to NLEX in the Philippine Cup.

Agovida emerged one of the few bright spots for Blackwater in the loss, firing a team-high 15 points, including nine in the fourth quarter that kept the Elite within striking distance.

“Kutob ko ito talaga 'yung taon ko na pwede ako ma-draft, kasi last year, nagpa-draft ako, pero sobrang dami kaya binawi ko muna,” the former Arellano stalwart said.  

“Ang saya ko kasi rookie ako, napakita ko na 'yung skill ko na pwede pala ako sa liga na ‘to.”

[See NLEX survives giant scare from Blackwater]

This early, Agovida is proving to be the steal of the draft, where he was picked in the fourth round and 35th overall.

“Binibigyan lang kasi ako ni coach Leo ng kumpiyansa kahit rookie ako,” he explained. “Tsaka teamwork naman ginagawa namin kaya siguro nagagawa ko yung ganun.”

Elite coach Leo Isaac’s trust in Agovida was evident in an endgame play where the coach drew up a play for the rookie, who repaid the faith by scoring on a tough stab that kept Blackwater within 86-87.

The reed-thin cager admitted it he initially had a tough time adjusting the physicality in the pros, before slowly adapting in the game.

“Kinakabahan ako nung una kasi pisikal, kasi sa college hindi naman masyadong pisikal.”

Despite his solid performance, Agovida, who once scored 82 points in the NCAA juniors division for Jose Rizal University, is hardly thinking about contending for the Rookie of the Year award.

“Hindi ko pa iniisip yung. Ang iniisip ko lang manalo yung team.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos