PBA Draft Preview: The Big 3
MANILA, Philippines—Days before the annual PBA Rookie Draft, Rappler talked to some hopefuls. We discuss what they could bring to the PBA.
Rappler sat down with Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, and Raymond Almazan—3 giants who are poised to go 1-2-3 in the upcoming PBA draft. What exactly are in the minds of these consensus top picks? Scroll down to know more. (READ: Ginebra gets 1st overall pick in 2013 PBA Draft)
Destiny beckons for Slaughter
At almost 7 feet, Greg Slaughter is the tallest. He has played for the University of Visayas, Ateneo de Manila University, NLEX Road Warriors, and Gilas Pilipinas. (READ: Gilas Diaries: The Big Kid)
His successful transfer from the Green Lancers to the Blue Eagles is a milestone in his career. He won two titles with Ateneo, and was selected as one of the cadet members of the national team.
Slaughter saw action in the PBA when he was with the Smart Gilas national team. He’s also been in Australia, Dubai, Belgrade, China, and the United States for various training camps.
He says these experiences would be his biggest edge. He is very confident about his chances and he remains patient.
Strengths: “Size. I am seven feet. All teams need size.”
Weaknesses: “It’s my first year in the PBA. Hopefully I can learn the ropes.”
Thoughts on the draft: “I feel ready, I am confident. I didn’t really choose this year (as a perfect year). It just played out this way. I had a pretty successful college career so I am taking the next step.”
Practice with Ginebra?: “I just dropped by the practice. Nothing is formal and finalized until the draft. Absolutely I will be a perfect fit for BGSM.”
Final words: “I had fun. It’s been a good morning workout. No pressure.”
Sangalang: I won’t let my supporters down
Among the 3, Sangalang may be the most versatile. The San Sebastian Golden Stag earned MVP honors in his final year in the NCAA with monster numbers of 19.3 PPG and 11.6 RPG. He was a dominant force for NLEX Road Warrior where they captured a title in the PBA D-League.
He has a steady midrange game and is an absolute workhorse under the basket. His defense is terrific even if he is just a shade above 6’5’’.
He feels a lot of pressure because of talk that he will be drafted second, but he hopes to meet these expectations. He added that his MVP award will reflect his worth and it will motivate him if he enters the pro league.
He dedicates this draft to the people who have been supporting him.
Strengths: "Yung mga nalaman ko simula noong bata pa ako, ipapakita ko sa PBA. Makikipagsabayan talaga ako. Lalaro ako ng maayos." (Everything I learned since I was kid, I'll show in the PBA. I'll make sure to give them a very good competition.)
Weaknesses: “Siguro ‘yung outside shooting at kailangan magpalaki ako ng katawan; maturity ko.” (Probably my outside shooting and I also need to bulk up; I also need maturity)
Thoughts on the draft: “’Sakto lang, first time naming lahat. Sobrang laking pressure dahil kasabayan ko sina Greg, malalaki din sila at magagaling.” (It's everyone's first time. There's tremendous pressure because I'm in the same class as Greg (Slaughter), they're all tall and skilled.)
Pressured at all?: “Sobrang pressure para sa akin. Hinihintay ko na lang ‘yung November 3.” (There's really a lot of pressure, but I'm just waiting for [draft day] November 3.)
Final words: “Ready na talaga ako. Andito na ako. Hindi lang para sa akin to, madaming sumosuporta sa akin at hindi ko sila ipapahiya. Bibigay ko ang best ko.” (I'm here, I'm ready. This is not just for me but also for all my supporters. I won't let them down. I wlll give my best.)
Almazan ready for the dirty work
The last of the three centers, Raymond Almazan is not even done playing for Letran in the NCAA, but he’s thinking about the PBA.
Unlike Slaughter and Sangalang, the 6-foot-7 Almazan is a defensive center. His length and quickness enable him to block shots and crash the boards.
All that matters, according to him, is to be drafted and he will give 100% every single time.
Strengths: “Hustle, extra work and rebounding. Scoring siguro, pero dadalhin ko sa team ko ‘yung depensa.” (Hustle, extra work and rebounding. Scoring too, but what I'll really bring to the table for my team is my defense.)
Weaknesses: “Marami pang kailangan pagtrabahuhan, hangga’t may ma-improve, gusto kong i-improve.” (I still have a lot to work on. As long as there's room to improve, I will strive to get better.)
Thoughts on the draft: “Sobrang happy, kinakabahan, excited. Sobrang haba na ng season namin e, sobrang excited na ako.” (I'm very happy, nervous, and excited. Our season's (NCAA) is a taking a while, but I'm very excited [about the draft].)
Consensus top picks?: “Happy ako pero di ko na iniisip. Madami akong naririnig at happy ako kasi top 3, pero kung ano ang mangyari sa draft day, okay lang. Pressure kasi yung top 3, dapat may ipakita ka.” (I'm happy but I really don't think about it. I hear a lot about me being the number 3 pick but I'll be fine no matter what happens on draft day. Getting picked 3rd overall is a lot of pressure. You really have to play well.)
Final words: “100% ready na talaga, mentally, tsaka emotion. 'Di ko pinababayaan ‘yung sarili ko e. Every single time. Magbabago lang pangalan, (magiging) PBA, pero wala akong gustong baguhin sa sarili ko.” (I'm 100% ready both mentally and emotionally. I won't be careless. I'll just be in a different league, but I don't want to change anything about myself.) - Rappler.com