MANILA, Philippines—If the 2023 PBA Draft had a grading system, coach Yeng Guiao would give Rain or Shine high remarks.
For the third and fourth overall picks, the Elasto Painters wasted no time picking University of the East’s Luis Villegas and PBA 3X3 big man Keith Datu Jr.
And Guiao was “very happy” with his new wards.
“We’re very happy with those two picks. Our other picks, we’re giving them a chance this coming week to get into the lineup,” said the veteran tactician at Market! Market! on Sunday.
“We didn’t guarantee anything but if we find a reason for them to put them in the regular lineup, we will.”
Besides the top two big men on the board, Rain or Shine also picked up talents in bunches in the later rounds.
They picked University of the Philippines’ Henry Galinato in the second, University of Santo Tomas’ Sherwin Concepcion in the third, College of St. Benilde’s JC Cullar in the fourth and Larry Arpia Jr. in the fifth round.
Multiple reports, however, state that Galinato is on his way to TNT in a trade deal that would give Rain or Shine a future first round pick.
That would leave Concepcion, Cullar and Arpia Jr., competing for a spot in Guiao’s roster.
Getting those names was crucial for Guiao, especially since he believes this year’s draft is a talent-stacked one.
He also tbhinks that this is the time to “strengthen a team,” so when the available names were on the board, he snagged them with little to no hesitation.
“We think that this draft is very deep. The talent level is there so if you’re a team who’s looking to strengthen, this is the time.”
Of course, Guiao hopes that his picks won’t be taken away from him by the big teams in what he described as basically an “incubation” process.
“The problem is in one or two years, the players who were drafted today may end up going to the stronger teams. It’s as if [teams that drafted them] merely took them in for incubation,” said the outspoken Elasto Painters mentor in Filipino.
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