Newly-crowned Governors’ Cup champion Rain or Shine proved that it is one of the deepest teams in the league after winning the first title in franchise history. Because of that, coach Yeng Guiao hints that the team may not need to reload in the upcoming rookie draft.
“We don’t want any more duplication in our players’ positions. Most of the talented players who will enter the draft are forwards, wingmen and guards,” Guiao told InterAKTV in a telephone interview. “What we need now is a legitimate center. Right now, the only center I see who’s ready for the PBA is June Mar Fajardo.”
The Elasto Painters won the Governors’ Cup with Best Import Jamelle Cornley manning the slot for the team.
Fajardo, a 6-foot-10 center out of Cebu, is expected to be picked first overall by the Petron Blaze Boosters. Rain or Shine owns the No. 7 pick in the draft, and Guiao said the team may trade it.
The rebuilding Alaska Aces, which owns the second pick in the draft, expressed their interest in the Rain or Shine pick.
“I’ve inquired on the No. 7 pick to see what can we offer,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
But things could still change between now and the draft, which is set on August 19, according to Rain or Shine assistant coach Caloy Garcia.
“We have an injured point guard,” he said, referring to Rookie of the Year Paul Lee, who is expected to be out four to five months after shoulder surgery, “and we have several players with expiring contracts.”
Garcia also noted that Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan may still be playing for the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team, which is scheduled to play in the William Jones Cup in August and the FIBA Asia Cup in September.
He added that the team would evaluate each offer.
“We have to find out what can they give in return. If it’s a player of our need, then a trade is a possibility. If it’s a future pick, then it should be of equal value,” he said.
Rain or Shine would also need to re-sign several key players. Seven Elasto Painters are up for renewal this offseason. PBA All-Defensive Team member Jireh Ibañes, Ronjay Buenafe, Jervy Cruz, JR Quinahan, Ronnie Matias, Chito Jaime, and Jonathan Uyloan all have expiring contracts.
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