MANILA—Jvee Casio’s decision to apply for the PBA Draft last Thursday is a welcome development for Powerade, which owns the top overall choice in the proceedings and hopes to rebuild with three choices.
“I hope he doesn’t withdraw (from the draft at the last minute),” Powerade coach Bo Perasol told the Inquirer over the phone, practically giving away the team’s decision on who the Tigers would make as their top overall pick.
“Now that he’s applied (for the draft), our priorities have changed,” Perasol added. “We had several names in mind and I thought that he wouldn’t apply because he’s a vital element in the Smart-Gilas program.
Perasol said that, had Casio not applied for the draft, the team could tap the player’s Smart Gilas teammates Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz as No. 1 pick, with Mac Baracael, another national team ace, also posing as a strong candidate.
Powerade didn’t make it past the eliminations in all three conferences this season, and Perasol admits that they have had no solid player in the lineup other than All-Star Gary David.
“That’s why we will settle for the best talent available (in the draft),” Perasol said. “It would be regardless of position because we have a lot to fill.”
The Tigers also own the first two picks in the second round—the 11th and 12th overall.
Perasol believes that if none of the Smart-Gilas players withdraws, Powerade will have a mighty good chance of becoming competitive next season.
“We will get some pretty solid players if none of them withdraws,” he explained. “But if they do, then that’s a different story.”
The Rookie Draft will be held Aug, 28 at Robinson’s Place in Ermita. All applicants have until the end of office hours on Friday confirm their applications.
Smart-Gilas has reportedly dangled juicy offers to some of its stalwarts in an effort to make them stay with the national program until the 2013 World Championship qualifiers.
There were also reports that several members of the PBA board were keen on raising the salary cap for rookies in an effort to entice the best amateur players in the land to make the jump to the pros.