MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra head coach Tim Cone has no doubt that incoming rookie Kevin Ferrer will quickly endear himself to the Barangay even though their fans still wonder why the former University of Santo Tomas star was selected instead of Arellano University's Jiovani Jalalon.
Ginebra selected Ferrer, a former Mythical Five selection in the UAAP, in the special draft for Gilas Cadets, with Jalalon going to the Star Hotshots. Weeks after the draft, fans of the PBA's most popular franchise still have questions regarding their pick.
Indeed, one of the questions posed to Cone in his appearance on ANC's "Hardball" on Monday was why they selected Ferrer over Jalalon. Cone made it clear that he was not even sure if they had a chance at picking the Arellano guard in the first place.
"I'm not sure we could have even gotten him," said Cone. "Because I didn't know the mechanics of that draft, to be honest with you."
"But when we found out we got Ferrer, we were very, very happy."
After seeing how Ferrer performed in his first couple of practices and scrimmages, Cone has no doubt that they made the right choice.
"Kevin is the real deal," the 19-time champion coach said. "Kevin is really bright. He's a bright, bright, intelligent player."
"It's the one thing that we're finding out," Cone added. "We've only had him in practice for a couple of weeks, and we've had him play three practice games. The thing we're finding out about Kevin is he's just a really intelligent player."
This is a huge factor for Cone and Ginebra, considering the type of system that they have in the team.
Cone has always spoken highly of Jalalon, even tweeting after his debut for Star that he "could turn out to be special." On "Hardball," he said that Jalalon can have a rookie season comparable to that of Scottie Thompson, who was instrumental in Ginebra's run to the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup title.
Yet this does not change the fact that Ginebra is simply "overloaded" in the point guard position. Had they selected Jalalon, he will battle not just his good friend Thompson, but veterans LA Tenorio, Sol Mercado, and even Mark Caguioa and J-Jay Helterbrand in the crowded Ginebra backcourt.
"I'm a chemistry coach," said Cone. "I believe in chemistry. If you overload one position, there's always going to be a little bit of a battle going on. There's not a real support system going on there. That's something that you really gotta be careful of."
Ginebra opens its campaign in the 2016-17 All-Filipino Cup on November 27 against the TNT KaTropa.
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