Missing out on the biggest prize in the 2016 PBA D-League Draft in Jeron Teng, Tanduay still emerged as a big winner as it picked bluechip recruits who can definitely help the team compete this season.
Coach Lawrence Chongson exited the PBA Cafe on Tuesday all smiles believing he made the most of the Rhum Masters’ selections.
He first surprised everyone in the venue when he plucked Letran big man Jom Sollano as the second overall pick.
“Sollano is a high IQ big sa Letran,” Chongson remarked. “He’s feisty, has championship-experience, so he’s good pick for number two.”
He then season players like FEU guard Monbert Arong in the second round and UE forward Paul Varilla, before ending up Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman in the fourth round and finishing his haul with Fil-Swede swingman Andreas Cahilig.
He may have gambled on Brickman and Cahilig, but he still expects Tanduay to go on a deep run this season given the field this 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
“Our confidence is high because of there are a lot of new teams. Except for CafeFrance, there’s no other team which we think is a strong contender,” he said. “We haven’t been champions in our five years, so what would make me more optimistic, right?”
“We’ll just work hard and enjoy this. If God gives this to us, we’re thankful for it. If not, it’s part of us growing up.”
Tanduay will be banking on the leadership of guards Mark Cruz and Raphy Reyes, as well as the return of forward Louie Vigil this conference.