MANILA, Philippines – Alaska head coach Alex Compton was relieved to see that both of their rookies are quick learners, as they try to catch up on the Aces' system ahead of the opening of the new Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season.
Alaska selected former De La Salle University star Jeron Teng with the fifth pick of the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, then watched as San Beda College guard Davon Potts virtually fell into their laps in the second round. Potts was projected as a first round talent, but was not taken until the Aces scooped him up with the 18th overall pick.
The two rookies got their first taste of PBA action this week, when Alaska competed in a pocket tournament with three other teams. They avoided a winless stint by routing Rain or Shine in their final assignment on Wednesday.
Neither Teng nor Potts were spectacular in their preseason games, but Compton is mostly confident that they can both find their rhythm as the season approaches.
"One of his best qualities that I've seen is that he's a learner," Compton has said of Teng, who shone in the PBA D-League for AMA and Flying V before making the jump to the PBA. "It shows a capacity for growth, which is really important."
"Actually, both of our rookies seem like they have good basketball intelligence," he added.
This is good news for Compton because both Teng and Potts have a lot to learn.
"They have a high volume of stuff to catch up on, that all the other guys already know," Compton noted.
Still, he was impressed that both young players are absorbing the lessons quite quickly.
"That's one of the things that surprised me most about both of them," said the coach. "It looks like they can learn fairly quickly, which I think is a tremendous strength."
"As the year goes on, you'll see them getting better and better," Compton predicted.
Alaska will open its All-Filipino Cup campaign on December 20 against the Magnolia Hotshots.
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