Rain or Shine management has assured head coach Yeng Guiao of freedom to exercise his picks in the coming Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft this year.
The Elasto Painters have multiple picks in the first round – including the no. 3 and no. 4 selections – as well as in the second round.
To accommodate the picks, RoS even shipped Mike Nieto to Converge for future second round picks to free up slots.
Guiao told Daily Tribune that the Elasto Painters will exercise their picks to acquire two of the best talented players available at the no.3 and no. 4 positions in the coming draft where he hopes to get at least one big man from these two selections.
“We have to be clever when it comes to building up the squad and the Rookie Draft is the only way where we can improve our roster more,” said Guiao.
“There are quality big men we can get from the draft as well as best available talent and it could also be a deeper cast. We’ve been hearing the names of Keith Datu, CJ Lane and Justin Baltazar and hopefully, we can get one of them,” he added.
It was a similar situation Guiao faced two years ago while he was still general manager and head coach of the Road Warriors. He had the third and fourth picks and was expected to use the other pick for Mikey Williams, but the other draft selection went to TNT as per order by top-level management.
This time, Guiao was guaranteed by no less than team owner Raymond Yu that his two first round picks are his to exercise.
“I really feel that the only way we can get better is through the draft because we cannot compete with the other big teams which can easily get players from the free agency thru the offer sheet.”
That’s the reason why Rain or Shine re-negotiated with Guiao right after the Elasto Painters finished the season, signing up the coach for the next five years to oversee the buildup of the squad.
“The management feels that it would really take some time before we can become a contender and a winning team and maybe that’s the reason why they extended my contract for the next five years,” he said.
This puts the reunion of veteran big man JR Quinahan with RoS a long shot following his recent release from NLEX.
Talks of the Cebuano slotman’s return to the Elasto Painters came up because of his strong ties with his long-time coach Guiao, but the current situation may not be ideal for Quinahan as the squad is already loaded.
Quinahan, who was still under contract with the Road Warriors until December, violated an agreement under the Uniform Player’s Contract for playing in a ligang labas and was let go by NLEX.