18 August 2010

Searching for Franchise Player

Ryan Gregorio
By Rey Joble
GMANews.TV, 18 August 2010

This is what three-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) champion coach Ryan Gregorio needs after taking over the league's newest brand-name, Meralco.

"It's hard to build a team overnight. You need to lay down the foundation first," said Gregorio, who was one of the guests at the weekly PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue in Malate, Manila. He was joined at the forum by Meralco senior vice president Ramon Segismundo, and senior manager Mandy Padua.

Gregorio doesn't have an impact player who will define the young franchise.

"What we really need is a franchise player," said Gregorio, who won all three of his championships while handling Purefoods, which had franchise player and two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap. "Obviously, we don't have one on our roster. What we have here are a bunch of role players."

The two-time Coach of the Year will inherit a team that lost former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Kelly Williams and ex-Rookie of the Year awardee Ryan Reyes.

"I need at least two scorers. I have role players on our team and key players on my defensive squad," said Gregorio, who added that negotiations are ongoing to beef up his lineup.

The 37-year-old mentor singled out three players who will serve as his team's foundation – 6-foot-9 veteran slotman Marlou Aquino, hardworking forward Nelbert Omolon and incoming sophomore guard Chris Ross.

"It's important that when you mold a team, you need guys who will build the team. And at this point, Marlou will still be an integral part of what we intend to do. You just can't go into a crowd and find a 6-foot-9 player like him," said Gregorio.

"And I'm really impressed with Chris Ross. He can dominate a game just by playing defense in the same manner that Omolon was a defensive specialist even before he developed his offense. These three guys will make our team," he added.

Gregorio is also aware that the next draft may not be as deep as previous ones, and that by the time Meralco makes its pick, Ateneo big men Rabeh Al-Husseini and Nonoy Baclao will be gone, and they may have to go for University of the East’s Elmer Espiritu.

"I'm looking at these guys as the top three picks. But we will be happy with Espiritu because he's very athletic, he can play defense, and he can jump out of the gym," said Gregorio.


  1. Is coach Ryan out of Purefoods Team?

  2. Yep. He was tapped to coach Meralco. I'm not keen on his style, but we'll see.