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MANILA, Philippines – Stephen Holt enters the PBA Rookie Draft with the most impressive credentials, except Terrafirma has other plans for its No. 1 pick.
Don’t be surprised if the former NBA G League player does not end up as the top draftee on Sunday, September 17, as the struggling Dyip – selecting first for the fifth time in the last six seasons – look to beef up their frontline.
“Our priority is to get a big man,” said Terrafirma head coach Johnedel Cardel, with the team also getting the 12th and last selection of the first round.
“We’re looking for a big man. If we can get two big men, we’re going to get two big men.”
Big men are aplenty in this batch of rookie aspirants.
Keith Datu and Brandon Bates, who both stand 6-foot-8, are expected to land in the first round after impressing for their respective teams in the PBA 3×3.
There are also Kemark Carino (6-foot-8), Luis Villegas (6-foot-7), Clifford Jopia (6-foot-8), and John Gob (6-foot-7) who can provide teams with length and inside presence.
In terms of skill and experience, however, Holt is a cut above the rest.
The 6-foot-4 guard played for the Canton Charge during the 2014-15 G League season, averaging 10.9 points on 42.8% shooting on top of 3.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 steals in 49 games (44 starts).
Holt also got signed by the Atlanta Hawks for a pair of NBA Summer League stints in 2014 and 2015.
Trekking the overseas route, the Filipino-American standout suited up for the Melbourne United and the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League in Australia, where he made the All-NBL Second Team in 2016.
He also played in Andorra, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, and Romania throughout a decade-long professional career.
But a concern for Holt is his age, being one of the oldest in the draft at 31 years old.
“[Holt is] a talented guy, by age of 31, he is ready to play. But for us, we need someone younger,” said Cardel. “Hopefully, we get what we want with our first and 12th picks.”
After the Dyip, Blackwater will choose second in the draft to be staged at the Market! Market! in Taguig, followed by Rain or Shine with the third and fourth picks, and NorthPort with the fifth selection.
No matter where he lands, though, teams cannot go wrong with Holt. – Rappler.com