COACH Luigi Trillo said Alaska is inclined to tap the best available winger in this Sunday’s PBA rookie draft in case the Aces fail to trade their first-round pick as planned.
Former two-time UAAP MVP Nico Salva, University of Santo Tomas’ ex-skipper Jeric Teng, Arellano’s James Forrester, former Adamson Falcon Alex Nuyles and ex-Far Eastern University star JR Cawaling are all on Trillo’s radar from the record 85 hopefuls in the rookie pool.
“There are a couple of guys in the wings like Nuyles, Nico, Cawaling is there, James Forrester is there. It may come down on who falls to us,” Trillo told Spin.ph.
Trillo is not discounting getting Teng with the Aces' No. 8 pick overall, although he doubts if the former University of Santo Tomas star if he would still be available when it's the team's turn to make a selection.
“And with Jeric Teng there, he probably will go ahead of them, so with (the No.) seven and eight spots, you probably got five wing men.”
But Trillo explained that he is still hopeful that he could trade his first-round pick for a future first-round draft choice as he would be happy to keep his team intact for next season.
“Obviously, we want to trade that (first-round) pick for a 2015 or 2014 first round. But right now, there are no takers out there, so we are looking extensively at the draft,” he added.
The Aces are coming off an early playoff exit, losing to eventual Governors Cup champion San Mig Coffee in the knockout quarterfinals.
Alaska has played well in the just-concluded 38th PBA season, having won the Commissioner’s Cup title - the franchise’s first PBA crown in the post-Tim Cone era - while pushing eventual Philippine Cup champion Talk ’N Text to six games in their semifinal series.
Trillo has high hopes his current core led Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio and Rookie of the Year Calvin Abueva will play major roles once more in the Aces’ bid for more championships in the coming years.