Mac Tallo will be the first to admit that entering the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft was nothing short of a leap of faith.
Coming off a stellar run with Southwestern University in Cebu, the 23-year-old could not sustain his groove when he took his act in the PBA D-League, posting pedestrian numbers in the lone conference he played in with Racal.
But little did he know that his skillset alone will be his ticket on his way to being drafted by TNT as the 10th overall selection.
“The risk was worth it,” Tallo shared in Filipino. “I didn’t expect to be picked in the first round. I was just praying that I get drafted. I felt I’ll end up in the second round, but when my name was called, I couldn’t believe it. I’m really happy that I made my dreams come true.”
It may be a shocking pick for many but KaTropa coach Nash Racela said Tallo has always been high on their list as the team looks to reinforce their guard rotation and find another playmaker.
“Ever since when we draft, we always look into consideration someone who could back up for Jayson Castro. So the process has been continuous for us,” he said.
Racela also joked that the surprise selection did seem like an “unconventional move” for them, taking a swipe at Kia’s unique style.
But he made it clear that the TNT brass liked Tallo’s qualities dating back to his days in CESAFI.
“People were expecting somebody else, but we saw a lot of potential in him. We followed him since his days in Cebu. We liked his point guard qualities, and I think that’s something that we could develop more when he stays with TNT,” Racela said.
Tallo knows the things TNT needs from him, and he’s looking forward to linking up with the team’s veterans, with Castro and Ryan Reyes set to serve his mentors.
But more than anything, what the 6-foot guard relishes the most will be his chance to reunite with his fellow Cebuanos Roger Pogoy and Alfrancis Tamsi.
“I’m excited because all of us there are Visayans,” Tallo said.