by Waylon Galvez
Globalport was the biggest winner in yesterday’s PBA draft, grabbing three of the top 10 picks and then got No. 11, too, as Barako Bull, as expected, gave away its picks then mysteriously took the 14th pick.
Globalport netted the fifth, sixth and seventh picks, two of them from a trade with Barako Bull and Petron, even as the top three picks went according to form.
Ginebra took the 7-foot Greg Slaughter as the No. 1 overall pick followed by San Mig Coffee Mixers who tabbed Ian Sangalang as No. 2 and then Rain or Shine grabbed Raymond Almazan at No. 3.
Then Ginebra picked again, after it got the fourth pick from Barako, taking in James Forrester, then it was the turn of Globalport who took the next three in succession.
Thus, in one fell swoop yesterday, Globalport was able to strengthen its team by taking Far Eastern University stars Terence Romeo (No. 5) and RR Garcia (No. 6) and Isacc Holstein (No.7).
The team also snared former Ateneo star Nico Salva at No. 11.
There was no explanation from the PBA commissioner Chito Salud why Barako Bull was allowed to trade its three picks in the first round when the team so badly needed to reinforce its squad in the coming Philippine Cup.
Insiders said the trade involved some cash component but this was not independently been confirmed.
Barako Bull reportedly has had trouble meeting its financial obligations to players and coaches.
What was even more surprising, Barako entered the picture and got Jeric Fortuna as its No. 14 pick, passing up the chance to get much skillful players earlier.
Thousands packed the Robinson’s place for the draft which had one of the deepest selections in years.
Shouts of “Ginebra, Gineraba, Ginebra” rang as Slaughter’s name was called by Salud.
Slaughter was greeted at the stage by the Ginebra core including former PBA MVPs Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrad, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Ellis, Billy Mamaril, and JayR Reyes, who was recently obtained in a trade with Meralco for Kerby Raymundo.
“It’s still surreal. I still can’t believe it, but I’m happy right now. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Slaughter, who was also greeted by Ginebra coach Ato Agustin, team manager Alfrancis Chua and team representative to the PBA Board of Governors Robert Non.
“My focus right now is to help the team win a title. I just want to contribute,” added Slaughter, who started his collegiate career with University of Visayas and was part of the original Smart Gilas Pilipinas national pool.
Ginebra missed the semifinals of the Philippine Cup and the Governors’ Cup, and although the Kings played in the Finals of the Commissioner’s Cup, they were swept by the Alaska Aces in the best-of-five championship series.
“Two thumbs up!” said Caguioa. “Everything is complete and we now have the pieces to really contend for a title.”
“Malaking tulong talaga si Slaughter,” said Agustin, who took over the coaching chores of the Kings in the Governors’ Cup. “I hope na makapag-contend kami for a title (in the Philippine Cup), pero kailangan namin pag-ensayuhan and team effort naman talaga dapat.”
Barako Bull first dealt its fourth overall pick to Ginebra for Rico Maierhofer and Willy Wilson and the Kings used it by drafting Arellano’s James Forrester. The fifth overall pick was dealt by the Energy Cola to the Petron Blaze Boosters for Magi Sison and Mark Isip.
Petron then shipped that No. 5 pick and got Yousef Taha from Globalport, which tabbed UAAP MVP Romeo.
The Energy Cola also sent their sixth overall pick for guard Denok Miranda to the Batang Pier, who drafted Garcia.
With the seventh overall pick, Globalport selected Fil-Am Isaac Holstein, a 6-foot-9.
Prior to the draft, the Batang Pier also got, in a separate trade, Enrico Villanueva from Barako Bull for Willie Miller and Hans Thiele.
Alaska made a big surprise with its No. 8 overall pick by choosing Ateneo’s Ryan Buenafe. Rain or Shine also stunned many at the crowd when it took Alex Nuyles from Adamson University with the No. 9 pick overall, and Governors’ Cup champion San Mig Coffee grabbed Ateneo’s Justine Chua, the last player to be selected in the first round and the No. 10 overall pick.
After Globalport tabbed Salva, Rain or Shine took in Jeric Teng and the crowd gave the UST star a big welcome.
Many had thought Teng to be drafted in the top 10 but he was just glad he finally made it to the PBA.