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Yeng tickled pink by Datu

Keith Datu gives Rain or Shine all the reason to get excited in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. | Photograph courtesy of PBA

It certainly looks like Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao did the right thing in drafting Filipino-American slotman Keith Datu.

Guiao took him believing that he was the best available big man and the 6-foot-8 dribbler was successful in showing that Guiao made the right choice.

“We know he can make an immediate impact,” Guiao told DAILY TRIBUNE. “When we had our two first round picks, it was certain that Keith was going to land in any of those spots because we saw his potential.”

In his debut game in the Philippine Basketball Association against Meralco on Wednesday, Datu finished with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field while also pulling down five rebounds.

Datu’s style of play mirrored the big men who Guiao once mentored: Mick Pennisi, JR Quinahan and Beau Belga.

“What you can observe about Keith is his strong built. He has a strong upper body and he’s versatile and athletic as well,” Guiao said of the Chico State mainstay in the US National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 2.

“He’s also a big man who can shoot, but he’ll be our main guy at the post.”

Datu’s versatility is one of the reasons why Rain or Shine picked him ahead of Brandon Bates, another talented big man.

“We felt that with Keith, his game is more complete because of an inside and outside game. With Brandon, you can also consider him an option, but we need somebody who can help us immediately playing an inside and outside game and Keith is the logical one.”

Guiao insists that “with Brandon, it will take us time to develop his game, knowing that he’s got a solid inside game, but doesn’t have much shooting from the outside so we chose Keith.”

With Datu showing a lot of promise, Guiao feels the squad is going to get even better when another prized rookie begins strutting his stuff.

Villegas, a 6-foot-7 forward from University of the East, is still completing his recovery from a knee injury he suffered in last season’s University Athletic Association of the Philippines and he is expected to join the Elasto Painters by January.

“Keith is more power while Luis is more of a finesse player. Luis can shoot more efficiently from the perimeter which can complement Keith’s game and I do believe they can co-exist,” Guiao added.

The future looks bright and rosy for Rain or Shine.

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