(Editor's note: Here's the first part of a 10-part series serving as Spin.ph's preview of the coming PBA season)
Globalport Batang Pier
Head coach: Ritchie Ticzon
Rookies: Terrence Romeo, Ryan Roose “RR” Garcia, Justin Chua, Nico Salva, LA Revilla
Gone from last season: Gary David, AJ Mandani, Bryan Faundo, Hans Thiele, Willie Miller
Off season additions: Jewel Ponferrada, Leo Najorda, Enrico Villanueva, Eric Menk
Holdovers: Sol Mercado, Jay Washington, Jaypee Belencion, Kelly Nabong, Jondan Salvador, Marvin Hayes,
Strengths: Globalport is one of the busiest teams during the offseason, which was understandable for a team that won a grand total of seven games during its maiden season in the pro league.
But unlike Barako Bull, the Mikee Romero-owned franchise made some of the most impressive moves that turned the Batang Pier into one of the most impressive teams, at least on paper.
Altthough it lost two major pieces from last season in Gary David and Willie Miller, the arrival of rookies Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Justin Chua (all first-round picks), Nico Salva, and LA Revilla as well as veterans Rico Villanueva and Eric Menk to add to holdovers Sol Mercado and Jay Washington make Globalport loaded in almost every position except the two spot.
Weakness: Globalport made so many changes that it may be too much to handle, especially for a rookie coach in Richie Ticzon that has had very little experience.
The team also needs a veteran leader who can be the steadying presence that could help the Batang Pier put their act together on the floor. Romero can only hope Mercado or Washington are mature enough for that role - or rookies like Garcia mature fast enough to take on that challenge.
Globalport's frontline may be impressive with the likes of Villanueva, Washington, Chua, and Menk, but its two-guard spot looks shaky without David and Miller - unless Romeo makes an immediate impact for the team. The dearth may force Mercado to slide back to the two spot after playing point guard in Junel Baculi's final conference as Globalport coach.
Season outlook: It may be too optimistic to expect a young, rejigged squad to make its mark in the season-opening Philippine Cup. But depending on the success of the Ticzon gamble, Globalport has the pieces to be a contender in the playoffs in the long run.