Ildefonso, Cervantes lead PBA expansion draft picks
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) two new franchises have finally formed teams of their own.
Former two-time PBA MVP Danny Ildefonso and former FEU standout Reil Cervantes led the expansion draft, which saw two of the 3 new PBA teams KIA Motors and Blackwater Sports deciding over the players they'd like to take in a closed door meeting on Friday, July 18 at Tito Chef's Restaurant, Microtel at Eastwood City, Libis.
The NLEX Road Warriors, the third new franchise set to enter the league in its 40th season come October, opted to take a different route coming in by purchasing the Airfreight 2100 Inc franchise (Air21 Express) and were not included in the expansion draft.
Among the other players drafted were Alex Nuyles from Rain or Shine, JR Cawaling from San Mig Super Coffee, Jai Reyes from Talk 'N Text and Mike Burtscher from Air21 Express (now NLEX).
Noticeably absent among the picks were Ronnie Matias from San Mig Super Coffee and Larry Rodriguez from Rain or Shine, both coming off a championship series in the recently concluded Governors' Cup.
KIA assistant coach Glenn Capacio explained the team's decision to go with Cervantes as their first pick and second overall.
"For me he's our best player," he said. "I know they're (Blackwater) interested in Reil so sayang naman yung chance, so we grabbed the opportunity."
(I know they're interested in Reil and we didn't want to waste our chance, so we grabbed the opportunity.)
He added: "For me it's a wise move for us and we're happy. At least we got 90% of the players we wanted."
On the other hand, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy explained the team's decision to go for Ildefonso.
"We look at him as the extended arm of the coach," said Sy, who represented Blackwater along with head coach Leo Isaac. "We're happy with Danny I. and we hope he can be a leader for the team and give more tips to the other younger players."
According to PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, the expansion draft order was determined via a coin flip with Blackwater winning it and picking first.
The two teams selected players from a pool of free agents and players left unprotected by their mother ballclubs. Both KIA and Blackwater will also be joining the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft on August 24 with KIA picking as 11th and Blackwater as 12th. The order was also decided via coin flip, according to Salud.
KIA was represented by CAC President Ginia Domingo along with team manager Eric Pineda and assistant coach Glenn Capacio in the absence of head coach Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao was unable to be present at the draft as he had to attend to his wife Jinkee who was said to be sick.
Though Capacio confirmed that Pacquiao still had a hand in the team's picks.
"Siyempre. Nandiyan naman siya every time na nag-meeting kami and sinasabi naman namin sino yung players na available and at the same time siya rin sinasabi niya sinong players ang gusto niya," Capacio explained, adding that they spoke with Pacquiao on the phone the previous night.
(Of course. He's there every time we have a meeting and we tell him the available players and at the same time he tells us the players he wants.)
Both teams are set to start practicing next week in preparation for the new PBA season.
Below is a full list of KIA's and Blackwater's picks.