MANILA — With the recently concluded 2023 PBA Rookie Draft seeing 79 of its 124 total applicants getting drafted, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao is in awe of the talent level that squads were able to get especially for those teams who are in search of the final pieces for each of their puzzles.
“Malalim tong draft na ‘to,” he said Sunday night at Ayala Malls Market! Market!. “The talent level is there. If you’re a team looking to strengthen your team now, this is the time. Record number of draftees, very deep talent."
Adding to this is that perennial powerhouses who previously used their 2023 first and second-round picks in trades were not able to draft in the earlier rounds, and this makes it even better for the up-and-coming and the bottom dweller teams.
“Tapos ang maganda pa rito, walang draftees ‘yung mga malalakas na team,” the fiery mentor added.
“Walang nakuha si TNT ng maaga, walang nakuha si San Miguel, walang nakuha si Magnolia ng maaga, walang nakuha si Ginebra ng maaga.”
But Guiao then went on to do a reality check, lambasting the teams who seem to not have any serious plans of developing their rosters.
“Ang problema lang, in one or two years, baka sa kanila naman mapunta yung mga na-pick natin ngayon. Parang incubation lang nangyari,” the PBA Champion coach said.
While he did not point out specific teams, Guiao appeared to be alluding to franchises who have been derisively called "farm teams" by PBA fans -- squads who would draft a highly-talented player, keep them in their roster for a number of years, and then go on to swap them in packages that are questionable or may be considered as lopsided by most fans.
The former Red Bull mentor described them as ‘incubators’.
“If you’re serious about competing, this is the time for you to pick your talent and develop that talent — if you’re serious,” he said.
“Kung ‘di ka serious, magiging incubator ka lang.”
For him, it was not only about pleading for parity among all the 12 teams, but it will also mean a lot for the development of basketball and talent in the country in comparison to other Asian leagues that are continuing to overtake the PBA in terms of quality of competition.
“We need to put a lot of emphasis on parity, para lalong gumanda yung liga natin,” he said.
“Yung mga ibang Asian pro leagues, they’re progressing by leaps and bounds. So kailangang humabol dito.”