YENG Guiao said he has more or less anticipated the revival of the Gilas cadet program - and therefore never really expected much from the next PBA Rookie Draft.
So as early as the Commissioner’s Cup finals, Guiao said he was already looking forward to retaining the same Rain or Shine core that eventually went on to beat Alaska in six games in the mid-season finals.
“Yung Gilas cadets (my gut feel then) was magpa-pass up, so mababaw talaga (yung draft),” said the multi-titled coach on Monday. “So instead of relying on the draft to strengthen the team, I’ll just retain the team that I have now. 'Yun ang plano.”
Rain or Shine only has one pick late in the first round of the 2016 draft, but has 10 players whose contracts are expiring by the end of the season including recent PBA Press Corps finals MVP Paul Lee.
“Ang concentration now is to have these players back,” said Guiao, who himself will have his three-year deal with the franchise co-owned by Raymund Yu and Terry Que set to expire by October.
“Hindi ka naman makaka build-up sa draft e, masyadong manipis, mababaw.”
Top prospects for the rookie class of 2016 such as Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Mike Tolomia, among others, are expected to skip the draft to banner the Gilas cadet program when Fiba shifts to the home-and-away qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Aside from Lee, other Elasto Painters with expiring contracts are Gabe Norwood, JR Quinahan, Beau Belga, Jericho Cruz, Raymund Almazan, Jireh Ibanes, Jeric Teng, Jewel Ponferrada, and Ronnie Matias.
Rain or Shine board member Mamerto Mondragon said negotiations for new deals will start by next week.
Lee and Norwood both have maximum contracts with the franchise and Guiao doesn't foresee any problem locking down the two Gilas stars to new deals.
“I don’t think they’re going anywhere. Dahil kahit mag-offer 'yung ibang teams, max (maximum) na yung contract nila, ima-match na lang namin 'yun,” said Guiao.
The Rain or Shine coach is not really keen on entertaining any trade deals, not unless it involves big name players.
“Not really, not now. Depende kung talagang irresistible yung trade,” he said. “Yung mga big names pag-iisipan mo pero kung 7th man, 8th man, 9th man, I don’t think it’s worth considering.”