PBA: Who would Yeng Guiao pick first in the draft — Kiefer or Standhardinger?

Dominic Menor, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2017 07:03 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2017 07:32 PM

If NLEX gets the first overall pick in the 2017 PBA rookie draft, head coach Yeng Guiao says choosing between Kiefer Ravena (left) and Christian Standhardinger (right) is a "good problem" to have.

Part of the buzz surrounding Gilas Pilipinas' stint in the Jones Cup centered around which player would be chosen No. 1 in the next rookie draft.

Kiefer Ravena and Christian Standhardinger are two Gilas names that have made public their desire to apply for the draft, and either one of them could be picked first overall after their stock was boosted by their play in the Taipei tournament.

The team that will most likely get to make that selection is NLEX, but Yeng Guiao says he isn't thinking that far into the future.

"Wala akong gustong i-commit in that part," the Road Warriors head coach told ABS-CBN News after NLEX's practice at FCBL Gym in Quezon City on Tuesday.

"It's too early to have a bias, but it's a good problem."

After placing 12th and last in the previous two conferences, NLEX has an inside track on the No. 1 pick.

But the Road Warriors have started off 2-0 in the current PBA Governor's Cup and, if they continue their winning ways, their record at season's end could jeopardize their chances of calling the first name on draft day.

Guiao said his team can't lose with either Ravena or Standhardinger. 

"Kiefer's IQ is really high. He can influence the game from the point guard position even if he's going to be a rookie as young as he is. To me, iyon ang biggest asset ni Kiefer," Guiao said.

"Also, second to that is his flexibility. A lot of people have been looking at his offense but he can play defense if he wants to. In that aspect, he can play two-way. He can play 1-2 position, he can penetrate, he can shoot, he can pass."

With Standhardinger, Guiao agrees that he is a player that instantly solves the biggest issue that has given 11 teams sleepless nights — someone who can match up against San Miguel Beer's 3-time MVP June Mar Fajardo.

"(Standhardinger) has the size and the quickness. You can find bigs at 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 who will have the size but not his quickness. That's going to be a rarity," Guiao said.

"(He) is willing to sacrifice and work hard. It's a natural thing for him, you don't have to coach him to work hard. Kapag pasok niya, andoon na iyong instincts niya to be a hard-worker. So if you're a coach, that's one less problem when you play a championship team like San Miguel."

With Jeron Teng reportedly submitting his name for the draft and should Bobby Ray Parks Jr. do the same, the next class of rookies will be so loaded Guiao acknowledged he won't be too worried if his team doesn't land the coveted first pick.

Right now, Guiao, hired by NLEX in the offseason, is hungry for success. He experienced the worst two-conference stretch in his coaching career when the Road Warriors finished bottom in this season's Philippine Cup and Commissioner's Cup.

The 7-time champion coach said he can live with winning more games in the Governor's Cup at the expense of dropping off the drafting order.

"Drafting early is a consequence of not playing well, so ang gusto ba namin is not to play well? The whole objective of participating is to win and play well. Let the chips fall where they may," he said, adding that even if NLEX does perform well in the current tournament, he still likes his chances of going first overall in the draft.

"May puhunan na kami. Last place na kami sa first two conferences. 

"We're a stronger team now, but I don't know that we're that strong that it will already overcome our bad performance for two conferences."

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.