Mahindra defies belief that it takes stars, big payroll to achieve success in PBA
What's not to love about Mahindra, which is made up of mostly low draft selections and undrafted players and, sources say, only has a third of the payroll of most powerhouse teams.

IT'S hard not to be happy for the success of Mahindra.

Why?

Well, who wouldn't be happy to see a bunch of no-names with a payroll rumored to be just one-third of that of most PBA teams slay the goliaths on the way to a 4-0 start in the season-ending Governors' Cup.

If you're still unconvinced, let's take a look. Mahindra's current lineup includes three second-round picks, three third-round selections, two fourth-round draft choices and three undrafted players.

It does have four first-round draft picks, but three of those players have bounced from one team to another without finding a niche until they finally found a home at Mahindra.

Look: Nino 'KG' Canaleta is now in his eighth team, Aldrech Ramos is with his fourth team and Mahindra is the fifth team in a short PBA career for Gilas original Jason Ballesteros.

The Enforcer have only one original first-round selection in playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, who, at 37, is also the oldest in a team with an average age of 28.5 years.

And don't forget: the team's de facto coach, Chris Gavina, was until recently a strength and conditioning specialist.

Want to know more?

Well, taking out Pacquiao's undeclared salary which we heard he doesn't collect (and instead gives to the players as extra bonuses), Canaleta is the only player in this team with a maximum contract.

So what's not to love about these giant slayers.

Let's meet the lineup. Most of them, by the way, needs introduction.

Free-agent signings– Revilla, Elorde, Jaime, Bagatsing, Aguilar, Webb  

Acquired from trades – Ramos, Canaleta, Agovida, Yee, Taha, Ballesteros, Pinto

Original picks -  Guinto, DiGregorio, De Vera, Pacquiao

 Aldrech Ramos

28

2012 first-round pick, fifth overall

On his fourth team, acquired from NLEX before the start of the season

Nino Canaleta

34

2005 first-round pick, sixth overall

On his eighth team, acquired from NLEX before the start of the season

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LA Revilla

26

2013 third-round pick, 24th overall

Acquired as free agent in 2014

 Bradwyn Guinto

24

2015 second-round pick, 14th overall

Keith Agovida

26

2015 fourth-round pick, 34th overall

Acquired from Blackwater before the start of the conference

Mark Yee

34

Undrafted in 2008 Draft

On his fifth team, acquired from GlobalPort in 2015

 Paolo Taha

25

2014 third-round pick, 29th overall

Acquired from GlobalPort before the start of the conference

Mike DiGregorio

25

2015 fourth-round pick, 35th overall

Jason Ballesteros

30

2011 first-round pick, seventh overall

On his fifth team, acquired from Blackwater in this Commissioner’s Cup

John Pinto

25

2014 second-round pick, 19th overall

Acquired from GlobalPort before the start of season

Nico Elorde

24

2015 third-round pick, 33rd overall

Acquired as free agent from ABL this season

Chito Jaime

32

2008 second-round pick, 14th overall

On his fourth team, spent some time in ABL and Liga Pilipinas, acquired as free agent in 2014

Hyram Bagatsing

31

Undrafted in 2010 Draft

Acquired as free agent in 2014

Raymond Aguilar

Undrafted in 2009 draft

Acquired as free agent from D-League late in the Commissioner’s Cup

Joshua Webb

26

2013 third-round pick, 21st overall

Acquired as free agent in 2015

Leo de Vera

27

2015 third-round pick, 24th overall

Manny Pacquiao

37

2014 first-round pick, 11th overall

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos