PUERTO PRINCESA – Having seen the abundance of talent during Friday night’s Rookies vs. Sophomore game, coaches Jeffrey Cariaso and Leo Austria are one in saying the PBA just gave cage fans a glimpse of the future.
Cariaso handled the Sophomores who lost to the Rookies, 150-131, before a jampacked crowd at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum in a game that left the former Ginebra coach and now deputy of Alaska impressed with the young batch of talent that played right before his eyes.
He was most amazed with former UAAP MVP Terrence Romeo, who burned the opposition for 50 points.
“Parang ang dali lang ng basketball sa kanya. He makes it look easy,” Cariaso said of the youthful Globalport shooting guard.
Cariaso believes Romeo has what it takes to become a superstar in the league that has banked on the popularity of Mark Caguioa and James Yap the past few years.
“Not every player is perfect because there are certain aspects that he (Romeo) needs to improve, and the no. 1 thing is defensively, but he knows that,” he said.
“Though offensively, I’m sure any of the other 11 (PBA) teams would love to have him.”
Outside Romeo, Cariaso also mentioned Talk ‘N Text rookies Kevin Alas and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser as well as the celebrated Semerad twins, Anthony and David, as potential future PBA stars, too.
The 42-year-old Cariaso said today’s generation of young players have benefited from the influx of information in the social media age, as well as the technology in individual workout, a radical shift from how players play the game two decades ago.
“What’s nice about social media now and technology is you get to see how others train and work out,” he said.
“Aside from other technologies to help them (players) improve, di lang simple weights, not like before, there‘s so many workout out there to improve yourself, that in combination with seeing your idols work out, because you just go on Youtube, type in, ‘How can I improve my jump or leaping ability’, that in itself motivates you,” added Cariaso.
On the other hand, Austria noticed how fans accept today’s young talent in the league.
“Marami ng papalit sa kanila,” Austria said, referring to Caguioa and Yap.
“Makikita mo naman ang crowd, hindi na (Robert) Jaworski or Caguioa, kundi Romeo, Romeo na kahapon,” he added, referring to the chants for the Globalport gunner when he won the Three-Point shootout and starred for the Sophomore team.
“Come and go talaga ang mga players, kasi di naman talaga forever nandyan ka.”
The 56-year-old Austria, who will call the shots for the North team in the All-Star game, also shared Cariaso’s thoughts on how much technology has changed the way players train and improve on their skills today.
“Alam naman natin basketball globally, makikita na ng mga players so nagkakaroon na sila ng idea ano gagawin because with the technology right now, pagaling na ng pagaling ang mga players,” explained Austria, the 1985 Rookie of the Year.