The Road Warriors appear to have found a phenomenal young player who can lead them on a path of success.
NLEX chose Kiefer Ravena No. 2 in the PBA rookie draft in a ceremony held at Robinson's Ermita on Sunday.
“Sobrang overwhelming. Dream ko ito simula pa ng bata pa ako. Na-fulfill ko na rin iyong dream ng dad ko to be a second-generation basketball player,” said Ravena, who went to the US last year to try his luck playing in the NBA.
When the many-time champion for the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Gilas Pilipinas finally decided to stay home, the league knew he would be an invaluable piece for a team looking to turn its fortunes around.
After Christian Standhardinger went first, Ravena fell on NLEX's lap and picking the son of a former Rookie of the Year winner (dad Bong) was a no-brainer for coach Yeng Guiao.
Helping Guiao welcome Ravena onstage at Robinson's Manila were Asi Taulava, Alex Mallari and Kevin Alas, who will share back-court duties with Ravena.
With Standhardinger and Ravena landing in their expected spots, the rest of the draft became less predictable.
Blackwater used its pick to get Raymar Jose, a national-team regular and former Far Eastern University player, at No. 3, while Phoenix grabbed Minnesota-born La Salle alumnus Jason Perkins at No. 4.
Alaska picked UAAP champion Jeron Teng of La Salle at No. 5, while GlobalPort tabbed PBA D-League standout Robert Herndon at No. 6.
Rain Or Shine took Letran star Rey Nambatac seventh, Phoenix chose EAC Sidney Onwubere at No. 8, and Star grabbed Arellano high-flyer Lervin Flores ninth.
Completing the first round are D-League standout Mac Tallo and Colegio de San Lorenzo's Jon Gabriel, selected Nos. 10 and 11 respectively by TNT; and Gilas regular and former UP player Jett Manuel, who went to Barangay Ginebra at No. 12.
(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)