BARAKO Bull active consultant Rajko Toroman believes the bumper crop of talents in the PBA draft pool gives the Energy Cola an opportunity to build a young core that could help the franchise contend for a championship in the coming years.
Toroman said he’s particularly impressed with potential first-round prospects led by former UAAP MVP RR Garcia, Nico Salva, the 2011 and 2012 UAAP Finals MVP, former Adamson gunner Alex Nuyles, and ex-San Miguel Beer shooter JR Cawaling, who all showed up for the team’s Tuesday practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
“We had a very competitive practice this (Tuesday) morning. And looking at them, these are all high-quality players. They’ve got a lot of talent, that’s for sure,” Toroman told Spin.ph.
Barako Bull owns the fourth to sixth picks, which gives the franchise owned by George Chua the chance to inject young blood in a team that has rode on the backs of veteran forwards Danny Seigle and Mick Pennisi this season.
The Serbian mentor declined to mention who they intend to draft in the first round.
“It’s a given the first three picks will be the big men,” the 58-year-old former Smart Gilas national coach said, referring to seven-foot Greg Slaughter, former NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang, and Letran slotman Raymond Almazan.
“But we’ll be looking for the best talented players who can really strengthen the team and make us younger also. You see, aside from the three first-round picks, we also own the 14th and 20th picks in the second round,” he added.
The Energy Cola are coming off another dismal showing this season after compiling a losing record of 13-25 overall.
Barako Bull managed to barge into the quarterfinals of the season-ending Governors Cup, but was ousted by Meralco, 86-68, in the franchise’s maiden playoff appearance.