PBA: After acquiring Slaughter, NorthPort keys on 'best talent' in Draft

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2021 02:42 PM

NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- The NorthPort Batang Pier plan to take the best talent available in the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft, where they own the second and 11th picks in the first round.

NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio did not name who they intend to take with the second overall pick but stressed that they are looking at the best talent on the board, to further boost their lineup that already includes 7-foot center Greg Slaughter.

The Batang Pier swung a trade for Slaughter last Friday, sending former Best Player of the Conference Christian Standhardinger to Barangay Ginebra in exchange.

"Alam mo kasi sa draft, para sa akin, you choose the best talent. Oo. Piliin mo na 'yung best talent talaga," said Jarencio. "Kami, best talent kami. We're preparing for (the) best talent."

"Hindi kami nag-iisip na, 'Kailangan namin ng ganito, kailangan naming ganyan.' 'Yung best talent ang hinahanap namin," he explained.

Fil-Am stars Joshua Munzon and Jamie Malonzo are generally regarded as the top two prospects in the upcoming draft, which will be held on March 14 in a virtual ceremony.

While he is looking forward to seeing who they can take at No. 2, Jarencio notes that they also own the 11th pick in the first round as well as the top pick in the second round.

"We have three picks, dalawang first round, tapos first pick ng second round. Malaking bagay 'yun," he said.

The rookies will join a promising NorthPort team that is finally healthy after dealing with a plethora of injuries in the past year. 

The Batang Pier is set to welcome back point guard Robert Bolick from a knee injury, as well as versatile swingman Sean Anthony who missed the bulk of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup with a hamstring issue.

Both Anthony and Bolick along with Kevin Ferrer are healthy and already practicing, according to Jarencio. It remains to be seen, however, when Slaughter can join them for the small group sessions.

"Wala pa namang initial talk 'yung mga coaches sa kanya eh. Ang kausap pa lang niya siguro ang management pa lang namin," Jarencio explained of Slaughter's situation.