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Rain or Shine inks top draft picks

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PBA Luis Villegas and Keith Datu are raring to wear the Rain or Shine jersey.

Rain or Shine believes top rookie picks Luis Villegas and Keith Datu have what it takes to ramp up the squad’s chances by inking them to three-year contract with the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup kicking off on 5 November.

The signing was announced on the team’s social media accounts on Wednesday.

Villegas, picked third overall, played for University of the East before getting injured and is patiently working on his recovery.

He is excited to join a team that is young, promising and handled by a coach known for giving every player the chance to shine.

“I’m excited to learn,” Villegas told DAILY TRIBUNE. “I’m excited to learn from the coaches and the players.”

“My confidence is a little high that I’ll be selected early because I know on Draft Day, anything can happen. I’m forever grateful that I was drafted this high,” he added.

But the Elasto Painters will have to be patient as the 6-foot-7 player who averaged 13 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals during his one-and-done campaign last year, is undergoing rehab.

“We’re revving up our weight-training program. I’m starting to jump now, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll begin jogging and running.”

“We’re ahead of schedule and everything is looking good,” he added.

Datu, another 6-foot-8 frontliner and selected fourth overall by the Elasto Painters, will also give the team the added size, athleticism and versatility up front and just like Villegas, the 3×3 star, looks forward to being mentored by seven-time champion coach Yeng Guiao and many-time All-Star Beau Belga.

“I heard he really gets the most out of his players. I’m excited to see what it does like. I’ll just give my all every game. I’m excited to be here,” Datu added.

“I attended the workouts with Rain or Shine prior to the Draft and I had a great time. I felt I got along with the players over there.”

“We’ve seen that this batch is really the best time in a long time stack up on big men,” Guiao said.

“I haven’t seen the quality of big men like this batch in a long time and we know that’s the most challenging part for a team, to get quality big men.”

“We know that there were talents that might be picked in the first round at the No.3 and 4 spots, we prioritized talented big men. Even though Luis is injured, we’re willing to wait and (we are) confident that he can come back and we took the risk. Obviously, this is also a preparation for the future as our big men like Beau, Jewel (Ponferada) and Borb (Mark Borboran), they’re not getting any younger.”

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