Going on a road less travelled, Kia is hoping for the public’s understanding as it embarks on a new journey this upcoming PBA season.
Team governor Bobby Rosales understands the outcry following the Picanto’s decision to trade the top pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft to San Miguel, but said that his team is embracing an “unconventional philosophy” in forming their squad.
“It’s a normal reaction when you disturb the status quo, but give us a chance to prove our philosophy,” he said on Friday in a small chat with reporters at Azure Residences in Bicutan.
“We already espoused this kind of philosophy when we started the team three years ago, but it takes time to embrace that philosophy. We understand the public’s outcry, but we appeal to give us a chance to contribute something different.”
Since joining the PBA in 2014, the Kia franchise—which was initially called the Kia Sorento, before getting its name changed to Mahindra Enforcer, among others—has never gone beyond the quarterfinals. The team’s best finish was fifth place in the 2016 Governor’s Cup.
But after that, Kia lost key guys likes like Aldrech Ramos, Niño Canaleta and Paolo Taha through either trade or free agency and has never won more than three games per conference this 2106-2017 season.
Kia is reportedly sending the number one pick in this year’s draft proceedings, which is projected to be Christian Standhardinger, to San Miguel for a combination of Ronald Tubid, JayR Reyes, Yancy de Ocampo, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Rashawn McCarthy, and Keith Agovida, along with the Beermen’s 2019 first rounder and cash considerations.
Rosales said that the 0-11 finish in the 2017 season-ending Governors’ Cup factored into the decision of the revamp.
“Partly. We’re never at the cellar, the last team. In the previous seasons, were never the last team. So yes, it was a factor.”
Among the changes is the appointment of Joe Lipa as the new team manager, together with his group of Bong Nave, Raymond Gabriel, and Dr. Iby Bautista. Chris Gavina has also been officially appointed as the squad’s head coach.
“We’d like to play the kind of basketball that is not confined to the books. We’d like to veer away from the orthodox and shift to something unconventional. The idea that we’re trying to develop has been proven before, but we know that it takes years and a lot of dedication on the part of the players and the coaching staff. We’d like to pay our dues,” said Lipa.
Kia’s new management vowed that the team it will trot out this season will be ready to prove the doubters wrong.
“We’ll put up a fighting team. We may not become champions immediately, but we’ll put up a fighting team,” Rosales ended.