COUNT Paul Sanga and Alvin Padilla among the lucky few set to get second stabs at PBA careers by way of expansion team Kia Motors.
Sanga is a streak-shooting guard out of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws who went undrafted in the PBA. Padilla was drafted in the fifth round last year by Ginebra but never got to play.
Now the two are looking forward to a career in the pro ranks as the entry of expansion teams Kia and Blackwater Sports opened more opportunities for players in the fringes.
"This is a good chance for us lalo na yung hindi napansin noong una. Atleast, dumami po ang teams, dumami rin po ang magkaka-trabaho," said Padilla, a known banger during his days with the University of the Philippines Maroons in the UAAP.
After being snubbed by the PBA teams in the rookie draft, Sanga said he worked hard on his game while trying to catch the attention of pro teams in the D-League.
"'Yun lang po ginawa ko. Nag-sikap ako sa D-League tapos work on my shooting at defense. Now andito na sa Kia, mas kailangang magpursige," said the streak-shooting guard.
SMTM talent promotion founder Nino Reyes said he is thankful to Kia for the new lease on life for Sanga and Padilla, who he said have come to terms on two-year deals with the Manny Pacquiao-coached team.
"The SMTM talents have committed to give 110 percent effort in order to make Kia an instant contender as they enter their first year in the PBA," said Reyes, who also handles the career of GlobalPort star Terrence Romeo.
Reyes bared the hardwork and dedication of his two players while waiting for the big break.
"Sanga, a perimiter gunner from FEU, has now added a defensive aspect to his game to give a complete package for the new franchise," he said.
"Padilla, known as a hard-nosed defender, has added to his perimter game also to add another aspect to the offensive weapons of the new team."
Aside from Sanga and Padilla, veteran players like Eddie Laure, Bambam Gamalinda and Gilbert Bulawan also caught a second wind career-wise with another expansion team, Blackwater Sports.
"Yun lang naman ang hinihintay namin, ang mabigyan ulit kami ng chance na magpakita pa. Pakiramdam naman namin, kaya pa naming sumabay. May ibubuga pa," said Laure, one of the consistent players for the Dioceldo Sy franchise in the ongoing Penang Chief Minister's Cup in Penang, Malaysia.
"Malaking bagay ang expansion. Kasi buhay ng pamilya namin ang natulungan. Income ito, higit sa laro," said Gamalinda.