NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez could attest no team would go wrong if any of them would select one of his former San Beda players who made themselves available for Sunday’s PBA Gatorade Rookie Draft.
Fernandez said Baser Amer, Art Dela Cruz, Michole Sorela, and JP Mendoza – all part of the 2015 batch of Red Lions - will definitely be quality picks for teams that would avail of their playing rights
The champion coach of course, knows where he is coming from.
Fernandez coached the four Red Lions during his two-year stint with the team, guiding the school in the last two of its five straight NCAA men’s basketball championship until his appointment as NLEX mentor.
All four rookie hopefuls also had a tour of duty with NLEX under Fernandez during their PBA D-League stint along with another San Beda player in Garvo Lanete.
Of the four, Amer and Dela Cruz are expected to be first round picks based on their showing in the NCAA.
Despite an injury to his shoulder, Fernandez said Amer remains the top point guard of this year’s draft class. The pride of Davao was part of the Gilas cadets team that saw action in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) and the Southeast Asian Games this year.
“He is the best natural point guard in the draft. He showed it with the national team and in Hapee before he got injured,” said Fernandez.
The NLEX coach, on the other hand, said Dela Cruz has evolved into one of the most intelligent players of his class. In the ongoing Season 91 of the NCAA, Dela Cruz ranks as the league’s second leading scorer with 19.67 points, 12.56 rebounds (third best), and 6.11 assists.
“Art is one of the versatile power forwards. He can play the 3 position with ease. He has a very high basketball IQ,” said Fernandez.
Even Sorela and Mendoza, who became a last scratch this season due to a change in the NCAA age limit rules this year, will be good role players for any PBA teams.
“Both are good chemistry players who will give their very best if given a chance to play. Both are very solid defensive stoppers as well. They will be an asset to the team that will draft them,” said Fernandez.