29 August 2011

Powerade Makes Casio No. 1

JV Casio
PBA News, 28 August 2011

Powerade and JV Casio can now both live out their respective dreams.

The Tigers made Casio the No. 1 pick overall as expected in Sunday's eventful PBA Rookie Draft at the Robinson's Place-Manila, hoping the heady point guard can help lift the team out of its recent doldrums.

Rain or Shine chose Paul Lee at No. 2, marking the first time since the draft was instituted in 1985 that the first two picks overall were guards, while at least five teams engaged in some frenetic dealings.

Still taking the lion's share of the focus is Powerade and its picks, which included Casio's Gilas teammate, Marcio Lassiter, still available at No. 4.

With his backcourt now reinforced by the ace playmaker of the La Salle and Smart Gilas teams and Lassiter providing another threat at the wings, Perasol believes his team will be able to compete, at least in the two import-flavored conferences in the coming season.

"We have strengthened our backcourt and wingmen, so it is only in the frontline that we could be considered weak," said Perasol.

"Pero titingin pa rin kami sa free agency para mapunuan iyung frontline namin. Failing that, look forward na lang kami sa conferences na me import," added Perasol, while also pointing out his guards and wingmen can compensate for some kinks in their armor.

"Getting Lassiter at No. 4 was a bonus for us," said Perasol. "He can play backup or alongside Gary (David) and JV can play with either or both of them."

Casio, at 5-foot-9 the smallest man ever to be picked at No. 1 overall and the first La Salle alumnus to go at No. 1 since Mike Cortez in 2003, just wants to live up to all the expectations.

"I just have to focus on the games, see what I can deliver," said Casio, set to turn 25 years old on Thursday. "It's still all about teamwork and I just have to try and do my part in the point guard position, which is to stabilize the offense."

There is time to savor the reality of heading the list of 24 picked players out of the 36 applicants.

"Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na naging No. 1. It's always been my dream to play in the PBA," he

The same surreal feeling is shared by Lee, the former UE Red Warrior, part of the original Gilas team formed before the stint came into conflict with his school work.

Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said he could have gone with either Casio or Lee, but is content with having the 6-foot combo guard just the same.

"I feel he is one of the pieces lacking in our bid to compete in the highest level," said Guiao. "He has been an experienced player in the amateurs and I think he has little work left before fully adjusting to the PBA style of play."

Lee admitted to having liked Guiao's style of down-to-earth coaching. "Gusto ko si coach Yeng and excited na akong maka-trabaho siya," he said.

The six other Gilas members also went fast and all in the first round, with Petron making Chris Lutz the No. 3 overall pick, Shopinas.com (formerly known as Barako Bull) getting Mark Barroca at No. 5, Alaska choosing Marnel Baracael at No. 6, Meralco getting Jason Ballesteros, and Barako Bull, formerly Air21, taking Dylan Ababou.

Also crashing the Top 10 were Allein Maliksi, chosen at No. 8 by Barako, and Reil Cervantes, tabbed at No. 9 by Ginebra.

The dealings actually began long before the affair witnessed by a sizable number of fans who cheered whenever their favorites' names are called.

Meralco, Powerade and Talk N Text sealed a three-way trade and so did Barako and Petron and Meralco and Alaska, with each team hoping said deals will be beneficial for all the concerned parties.

Meralco acquired the rights to the Tropang Texters' No. 7 pick and swingman Mark Yee and the Tigers' Mark Macapagal.

Talk N Text received guard Shawn Weinstein and forward Bam Gamalinda from the Bolts while Powerade acquired Ogie Menor and Chris Timberlake from Meralco and TNT's No. 21 pick overall.

Dondon Hontiveros, meanwhile, is headed back to Petron along with Carlo Sharma after the Boosters gave up Sunday Salvacion and Mick Pennisi to the Energy. The two teams also included their first round picks.

Alaska did not have a first round pick but used three of its four second round choices on Eric Salamat, Julius Pasculado and Ariel Mepana from 13th to 15th, respectively, before trading its No. 17 pick to Meralco for a 2014 second round pick. The Bolts promptly used it on Gilbert Bulawan.

Also taken in the second round are Magi Sison (Shopinas), John Paul Raymundo (TNT), Brian Ilad (B-MEG), James Martinez (Ginebra), Kenneth Acibar and PJ Sorongan (Barako Bull). Using the rights it acquired from TNT, Powerade tabbed John Marc Agustin.

For the first time in the last six years and as agreed on during last Tuesday's PBA board meeting, the drafting went beyond the second round and Shopinas and Petron took advantage by respectively taking Marc Cagoco and Felimon Fernandez in the third round.

The Boosters effectively concluded the proceedings by taking Gerald Lapus in the fourth round.

The undrafted applicants automatically became rookie free agents while those teams who picked have five working days to present tender offers to their respective choices.

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