NLEX looking at draft picks to fill void of Taulava, Baguio departure
MANILA, Philippines—Armed with the third and fourth overall selections in the loaded 2021 PBA Draft, NLEX is looking to use that golden opportunity to replace two crucial members of the club.
Speaking in Noli Eala’s Power & Play podcast, point guard Kiefer Ravena said that the team is using the draft to fill in the void that veterans Cyrus Baguio and Asi Taulava left.
Baguio officially retired from the league in January and did not join the team for the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup in Clark while Taulava, 48, played in the tournament but has not said anything regarding his future.
“With the departure of Asi, of course we need another big man. We need to fill that spot,” said Ravena in Filipino. “Obviously we need that size up front. I think it was really glaring during the bubble. That’s what we lack.”
“Well, I just thought of the departure of Asi and Cyrus because they’re retired so if you could find that very athletic, long, and skillful wingman like Cyrus that’s a big thing for us.”
The Road Warriors enjoyed the presence of 6-foot-7 center Poy Erram who can create and disrupt shots as he pleased but he was traded to TNT heading into the 2020 season.
Without Erram’s shot blocking, the Road Warriors were dead last in blocks per game registering 1.7 as a team last conference.
Fortunately for the Road Warriors, the Draft is chock full of talent that are viable rim protectors including Jamie Malonzo, James Pado-Laput, Santi Santillan, and Troy Rike to name just a few.
As for prospective wings, NLEX has the option of taking Joshua Munzon, if he falls to no.3 or Michael Williams.
“Of course you can’t replace someone like Cyrus Baguio that easily but we do want someone who can fill into the system,” said Ravena.