FORMER national coach Joe Lipa said KIA's decision to adopt an 'unconventional, position-less' basketball philosophy was behind the move to trade the No. 1 pick overall in Sunday's PBA rookie draft to San Miguel for a bunch of relievers.
The trade proposal has come under fire from fans and mediamen as well as a couple of PBA team owners who questioned the motive behind KIA's willingness to give up a chance to grab Fil-German Christian Standhardinger in exchange for benchwarmers.
Lipa, however, insisted the trade makes sense considering the former expansion team has endeavored to adopt a 'position-less' style of play that puts a premium on versatility and outside shooting in a new era under head coach Chris Gavina.
"Christian Standhardinger is a great player. The boy has big potential,” said Lipa, a former KIA consultant who was elevated to team manager after Manny Pacquiao's departure as playing-coach led to the exit of former team manager Eric Pineda.
“It just so happened that our philosophy is to play an unconventional type of basketball ... we would like to shift to our philosophy which is there will be no positions."
Lipa, best remembered for leading a Philippine team of amateur players to the bronze medal in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, said he and Gavina are 'on the same page' in a radical shift that the team tried with considerable success before.
“As much as possible, we would like to concentrate on long shooting. Shooting from the outside means that height is not a requirement,” Lipa said.
Asked if KIA can't get a better deal for the Standhardinger pick, either from San Miguel or with other teams, Lipa said he and Gavina like the trio of Jay-R Reyes, Keith Agovida, and Rashawn McCarthy.
"We like Agovida. He played for us before and he helped us a lot. Jay-R is a big man who can run and shoot from the outside. We'll decide on McCarthy and the other players after the draft," said the coaching great.
Can't a player as talented as Standhardinger fit into that system, Lipa was asked.
"Christian Standhardinger has a place in this (scheme). But (through this trade), we have a chance to get three good players instead of one," said Lipa. "The advantage of SMB players is that they came from winning program. They are also veterans."