27 October 2016

Limited Options from the Draft for Meralco

Van Opstal
By Spin.ph

The Meralco Bolts sorely need a big man to shore up their frontline, but head coach Norman Black does not anticipate any to be available by the time they get around to making their pick in the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft.

The Bolts will be picking seventh in both the special draft for Gilas pool players, as well as the regular in draft. In both instances, they will be selecting the "best player available," according to Black.

"The problem is that by the time we get to the seventh pick, there probably won't be any big man available," Black told reporters Sunday after watching Ateneo de Manila University's game against National University.

Right now, Meralco's regular big men rotation consist of Bryan Faundo, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Reynel Hugnatan, and Kelly Nabong. Adding a center will be a major boost to the team, especially in the All-Filipino Cup. However, Black does not think that the big men who joined the draft will fall to the seventh pick.

"I don't think (Arnold) Van Opstal will last that long," added Black, referring to the former De La Salle University big man. "I think somebody will invest in him, because of his size."
"So we'll just take the best player available," he said. "We're not really sure who that will be, but we're guaranteed a good player at No. 7."

Black said they have already figured out who the available players will be, and have a good idea of who they will select.

"I'm not gonna say any names," said Black, "But we know exactly who's gonna be available."

The Bolts drafted well in 2015, taking Chris Newsome with the fourth pick and Baser Amer with the seventh pick. Both players became major contributors, with Newsome eventually winning Rookie of the Year honors.

Though Black admits that the upcoming 2016 class is "not very strong," especially when compared to the 2015 class, he still anticipates that the player they will select will become a vital part of their team as well.

"We think that we'll get a very good player," said Black, "And we'll be able to continue to build and add somebody to our team that will help us, just like Chris Newsome and Baser Amer did this year."
The 2016 PBA Rookie Draft is on October 30 at the Robinsons Place Manila. The Blackwater Elite hold the first picks in both the Gilas Draft and the Regular Draft.

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