FOR the rookie hopefuls thinking the PBA Draft Combine was just a formality, think again.
Pro coaches stressed the importance of the two-day rookie camp, saying it helped them in their respective decisions on who to pick in this year’s draft scheduled on Sunday at Robinsons Place Manila.
New Star coach Jason Webb, whose team picks 8th, believes the players’ performance in the camp either boosted or dropped their stock in the draft order.
“I think combines are really great for guys that are on the cusp of the first round,” he said. “You can move two or three steps up if you do well.”
“But it also can work against you,” he was quick to add. “Kunwari, highly touted ka, tapos nagpakita ka sa combine na biglang masama, then you can just fall off.”
And Webb admitted being disappointed by the showing of some heralded players.
“Players should take it seriously,” the former pro said. “I did see a lot of players na they should be doing better and they dropped (in the draft order) in my eyes.”
Blackwater assistant coach Ariel Vanguardia said the combine gained little-known players vital exposure to scouts.
“Yung mga hindi D-League players, yun siguro (ang nag-benefit) para makita pa,” said the top deputy of Leo Isaac. “Yung iba naman makita mo lang talaga kung healthy, kasi hindi mo rin alam kung galing injury o hindi.”
“Yung mga drills na pinapagawa sa kanila, yung mga drills rin na ginagamit sa practices sa PBA,” the concurrent Malaysia Dragons coach in the Asean Basketball League added. “Makikita mo kung sino yung makakasunod.”
Ginebra coach Tim Cone, for his part, stressed coaches have yet to make up their minds before the Combine.
“The more information you could have on a guy, the better,” the league’s most successful coach explained. “The NBA has these things all the time and it’s really huge. They get their private workouts. They make them go through tests, handwritten tests. They’ll do interviews with guys.”
“The idea is that the more info you have on a guy, the stronger chance that you’ll pick the right guy,” he added. “You’re looking for a guy that’s not going to help you next week or next month or even next, but three or four years down the line, he’s going to be a core player in your team.”
“You want to make sure you get the right guy,” concluded Cone, whose team has the No. 5 and 16 picks.