Draft surprise

HE had no intention of doing it, but the thought of messing up other team’s off-season plans entered the mind of coach Yeng Guiao as soon as he drafted Fil-American Maverick Ahanmisi in yesterday’s Philippine Basketball Association RookieDraft.

Guiao’s choice of Ahanmisi at number three was the biggest surprise in the annual event that officially opens the new season of the league.

Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario of the National University Bulldogs were the consensus top two picks, but most teams were intrigued regarding the choice of the E-Painters.

Players like Chris Newsome, Scottie Thompson, Norbert Torres and Art Dela Cruz were names that were often mentioned as potential picks of Rain or Shine.

In the end, it was Ahanmisi who came out as their best choice that will make the team better next season and would possibly hinder other ballclubs preparations.

“’Yun din ang gusto namin na mangyari para naman magkaroon ng gulatan. It’s also an advantage for us dahil baka magkamali ‘yung ibang teams. We might mess their plans up,” said Guiao

Initially, Guiao was looking at Thompson, Dela Cruz and Torre but with Ahanmisi being highly recommended by his deputies Mike Buendia and Caloy Garcia, Guiao became more convinced with their precious pick.

It also helped Guiao that the sons of co-team owner Raymond Yu namely Redmond and Ryan have high regard for the D-League veteran.

 “Na overrule ako. Personally, ang nasa isip ko noon si Art Dela Cruz or si Scottie Thompson. Pero my two assistant coaches came to me highly recommending si Ahanmisi,” said Guiao. “We were also actually looking at Norbert Torres pero nakapag upgrade kami ng size namin.”

Guiao said that with the addition of Jewel Ponferrada, who they acquired from GlobalPort by releasing Jervy Cruz, the fiery Pampanga congressman saw no need no get a big man.

“He has a body of a PBA player. He is strong and athletic. He’s got a good outside range and more than his offense he can play defense. I think if you combine him with Paul (Lee) and Jeff (Chan), that’s going to upgrade our offense and the team even more,” said Guiao.

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