Blackwater keeping its PBA rookie draft picks: ‘We will try to build this team’
MANILA, Philippines—Blackwater is looking to the future to complete its rebuilding process.
Head coach Ariel Vanguardia said the team has no plans of trading away its four picks in the 2022 PBA rookie draft as they try to bounce back from an era of futility that stretched three conferences starting in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
The Bossing put a stop to their 29-game losing streak when they stunned league leader Magnolia, 101-100, in the 2021-22 Governors’ Cup and Vanguardia plans to use that victory as their jumping point to the future.
“Now the monkey’s off our backs,” said Vanguardia Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. “Hopefully, come next season, we’re looking forward to our draft picks.”
“We won’t trade those picks. We will keep them. We will try to really build this team.”
Blackwater, which finished with a 1-10 record in the import conference, own the first pick for 2022 along with two further selections in the opening round.
The team will also have the first dibs in the second round of the rookie selection.
“We have three first-round picks including the first pick. We will have the first crack at whoever the best player is. And then we have the first pick in the second round. That’s like four picks that can really help us and this franchise to get over the hump,” said Vanguardia.
The pool for 2022 could also be as talent-rich as ever after the league eased the requirements for Filipino-foreign players.
Names such as Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser will have an easier process joining the talent pool for 2022 while Philippine-born players such as Justine Baltazar, Gian Mamuyac, and Justin Arana are considered the strongest prospects.
Vanguardia added that he’s enjoyed the support from team owner Dioceldo Sy with the Blackwater boss also offering his advice to the coaching staff.
“They’re very supportive in the rebuild. Whoever wants a two-year deal will be given that, someone wants an extension and that too is granted,” said Vanguardia. “Whoever I want from the draft he already knows. The owners and management are fully committed, I just wish we can repay that trust with wins.”
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