PBA PREVIEW: Ridiculed KIA Picanto out to defy odds, prove doubters wrong
Kia Picanto raised a lot of eyebrows in the offseason. Warren Salvacion

KIA Picanto

Roster: Reden Celda, Jackson Corpuz, Philip Paniamogan, Prince Caperal, Eric Camson, Pedrito Galanza, Glenn Khobuntin, Mark Yee

Key additions: Dylan Ababou, Ronald Tubid, Dan Sara, Jan Jamon, Rashawn McCarthy, Jon Gabriel, Jay-R Reyes

Significant losses: LA Revilla, Jason Ballesteros, Jason Deutchman, Rey Guevarra

DURING the offseason, Kia Picanto raised eyebrows after trading away the top overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft.

Now they want to prove doubters wrong with an impressive showing in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Unfazed by the criticism, Kia head coach Chris Gavina chose to soldier on and refused to dwell on the controversial trade that allowed the San Miguel Beermen to tab highly-touted Christian Standhardinger.

"You know, we gotta move forward. Our guys have taken that mentality of next man up, and anyone I can pull off the bench is ready to provide for us," said Gavina.

They may have lost Standhardinger, but the Picanto have gained reliable players in Ronald Tubid, Jay-R Reyes, and Rashawn McCarthy that will be instrumental in the defensive-minded squad Gavina is trying to establish. 

And they were quick to make an impact, as evident in Kia's thrilling 78-75 over the Beermen in a PBA preseason match at the Claret School of Quezon City Gym.

The confidence the team has gained in that match will go a long way for Picanto, said Gavina.

"As you can see today, our guys, we're able to pull off a tough game against a champion team, even if it is preseason," he said. "It goes a long way for us, probably more than San Miguel."

"We're envisioning being one of the more disciplined defensive teams. We have to be able to really maintain our uptempo pace and pressure in the backcourt defensively, generate our offense from our defense," he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros