NLEX was impressed with the play of rookies Kris Porter, Kyles Lao and Paul Varilla in the Road Warriors’ first tune-up game in preparation for the 44th season of the PBA.
Coach Yeng Guiao said the Road Warriors have yet to sign their rookies but admitted they left a good impression in their tune-up game against TNT, 95-90, on Saturday.
The most impressive, Guiao said, was Porter, who the NLEX coach labeled as possibly the biggest steal in the draft.
“Some of the rookies made a good account of themselves. Kyles Lao was really helpful in our cause today. Paul Varilla is decent. Si Porter, I think is a pleasant surprise. He could be the steal of the draft. Those are good signs for us,” said Guiao.
Porter had 10 points, Lao scored nine and Varilla had four markers as the Road Warriors fielded mostly second stringers.
Porter was selected by NLEX in the second round, while Lao was picked in the third round. Varilla was obtained by NLEX after Rain or Shine failed to sign the rookie after being selected first in the second round.
All three played in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League before applying for the draft.
Yeng noted the 6-foot-5 Porter has good outside shooting, a good fit to the NLEX squad recently beefed up by Poy Erram.
“Everybody was looking for a big man. I felt that he is a big man who could help any team. He played good defense, he made some shots, he made good decisions, and for us, he is the right type of big man because he has an outside shot. It’s a natural outside shot,” said Guiao.
“You don’t need to develop it hindi kamukha nung mga ibang players na kinuha namin, wala silang outside shots. Hahasain mo pa. Eto, konting polishing na lang,” he added.
Guiao said NLEX is now looking to retain the three rookies.
“May tender offer kami pero ‘yung final form ng contract, wala pa. Tender offer is just to retain their rights,” Guiao said.