The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters came into the 2013 PBA Draft wanting to fill two holes, a game changing post presence and three point shooting.
After the festivities that lasted seven rounds ended, Rain or Shine used a total of five picks spread out between rounds one thru three.
1st round – 3rd pick – Raymond Almazan
1st round – 9th pick – Alex Nuyles
2nd round – 2nd pick – Jeric Teng
2nd round – 9th pick – Gayford Rodriguez
3rd round – 9th pick – Ervic Vijandre
It’s a pretty impressive (and lucky?) haul considering where the team was picking and who fell from their projected spots in the draft. Let’s take a deeper look at each of the new Elasto Painters below and try to assess how they will be able to impact the team.
After Slaughter and Sangalang, the NCAA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, Almazan was the obvious pick for Rain or Shine. The team desperately needed a presence in the paint and at at that point in the draft, the 6’8, 194 pound Letran Knight was the best possible player to take. Almazan’s height and 81 inch wingspan will definitely shore up Rain or Shine’s frontline rotation, but his lack of an offensive game will mean that his impact to the team will probably only be seen on the defensive end.
Currently, Alamazan is averaging 13.5 points, 16.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks a game in the NCAA. We shouldn’t expect his points to translate to the PBA, but it won’t be impossible for him to continue his strong rebounding as well as his ability to block-party three shots a game in the upcoming All-Filipino Cup due to his athleticism and aforementioned wingspan.
Why am I Excited?
FINALLY, Rain or Shine has somebody other than Gabe Norwood who can play above the rim. With Belga re-signing with the team, expect Almazan to slide into the power forward spot (where his frame is less of a disadvantage). Look out for him to be a game changer as a weak-side help defender, covering for the vertically challenged Extra Rice Inc. and serving as Coach Yeng’s secret weapon against the marquee big men of the PBA.
There’s a good chance Almazan will immediately start for the team especially since he doesn’t need much of a transition period since Coach Caloy runs a ROS-like system in Letran. Almazan will probably (and hopefully) steal minutes away from JR Quinahan. Expect him to occasionally score in double figures (depends on how lucky he is on the offensive glass), while averaging around 10 boards and two blocks per game in 20-25 minutes of action.
Oh how quickly we forget.
After a quiet (and injured) finish to his UAAP career, Nuyles bounced around the D-League over the last year where the general public conveniently forgot about him. Enter the individual team workouts and the PBA pre-draft camp and the former Adamson Falcon successfully left a lasting impression on most people.
To talk about him more, I consulted HumbleBola’s very own Adamson writer, Toby Pavon. Here’s what he had to say:
Alex Nuyles will be able to bring his energy and athleticism on both sides of the court. On offense, he made his mark in the UAAP as one of the best finishers at the rim, scoring at will off the dribble and attacking the basket from all angles. He can also stretch the defense by knocking it down from three with consistency, both off the dribble and on the catch and shoot, though his release isn’t the quickest basketball has seen. Whenever needed, he also has a decent passing ability, able to dish the ball into the post while on the drive, but then again, most teams would prefer he shoot the ball.
On defense, his newly bulked up frame makes him harder for most shooting guards to push around while his athleticism allows him to keep up with them. He’s also not picky on the effort, willing to scrap and dive for loose balls to get the extra possession or two. He’s not going to get a lot of blocks or steals, but he will be able to contest shots and give his matchup a hard time.
If all else fails, Alex will surely bring to ths team is his work ethic and determination. Even in his college hoops days, Nuyles was putting in extra practice after lights out in the university gym. Despite using up his playing years, Alex continued to train with his old team, including his late night shooting sessions, making sure he can’t get it wrong during game time.
He simply wants to win, and sometimes to a fault. When he was still emerging as a key player for his college team, there were times where he’d enter the dugout after a tough loss, sobbing, grieving, lashing out at his teammates, “Bakit ba!? Binibigay ko naman ang lahat para manalo tayo, pero kapag natatalo tayo sa akin niyo sinisisi.” His surgically repaired shoulder is also a product of his drive to win, often dipping his shoulders and attacking the rim with reckless abandon, resulting in bumps, bruises, scratches and even more every time he scores.
Why am I Excited?
Rain or Shine gets another extremely athletic rookie in Nuyles. In fact, if we look at those drafted in the first two rounds that are below 6’3, arguably only Justin Melton is a better athlete than Nuyles (yup, not even Forrester). Nuyles definitely has a huge potential to be a sleeper for ROS and provide some Chris Ellis-esque highlights in his first year in the league. Crowd pleasing aside, I’m mostly excited for Nuyles to focus his athleticism as a defender off the bench for Coach Yeng. Finally, the drafting of Nuyles finally gives the team some pretty good insurance should the all too familiar injury bug hit the roster again.
The rotation is pretty crowded right now, but Nuyles should still see some court time every game mainly because he’s better offensively that Rain or Shine’s current off the bench small forwards Rodriguez and Ibanez. He’ll be called upon to shore up the team’s defense while also keeping opposing defenders honest with his threat as a reliable shooter from the outside (30.3% career three point shooter with Adamson) while also having the potential to put people on posters should the opportunity present itself.
Can the biggest slip of the draft turn into the biggest steal? The general consensus on the 2nd King Tiger on the Rain or Shine roster is that he could very well be an absolute coup for the Elasto Painters.
But why did Teng drop into the 2nd round if he was being projected as a sure-fire 1st round pick? Well, a probable answer would be the fact that Teng still has a long ways to go in terms of the efficiency of his offensive game. In 12 games in his last year with UST, Teng averaged 14.9 points per game, but along with that came 37.4 FG%, 27.5 3PT% and 77.8 FT%. If you’re okay with those percentages (you shouldn’t be), then let me remind you that it is relatively easier to get a shot off in the collegiate ranks than in the PBA. This highlights the fact that Teng still needs to work on his consistency and shot selection if he wants to make an impact in the pro league.
Thankfully for Rain or Shine fans, Teng won’t be tasked to take the amount of shots he was taking as a Tiger. With Rain or Shine, he will be in the good-graces of Coach Yeng as long as he plays tough, runs the floor and make a decent amount of open jumpers, all of which he should be capable of doing.
Why am I Excited?
- BANG BANG: One of the better post-trey celebrations in Philippine basketball.
- Post-Ups: It’s been a while since I last saw a guard be as good and comfortable in the post as Teng. It was an absolute joy to see him continuously take smaller opposing guards into the paint and score on them at will using a flurry of post moves that would make some UAAP big men feel embarrassed. This part of Teng’s game fits perfectly into Rain or Shine’s preference on utilizing bigger guards in the paint and we should see Coach Yeng experiment with this early in the season.
Teng finds himself among some very talented guards in the Elasto Painter camp. Like Nuyles, he will be an insurance policy for the team against injuries, but I’m pretty sure Coach Yeng will find him a couple minutes here and there especially against smaller guards where he will have an advantage.
Here’s what we know: Rodriguez, a 6’3 guard that played guard for the University of Visayas (where Greg Slaughter originally plied his trade before the Blue Eagles snatched him up). He’s considered a good shooter but is the oldest rookie picked at 28 years old. Taken quite high at the 19th spot, ROS management probably liked the experience and maturity that Rodriguez brings to the table, allowing the team to easily plug him in any role should the need arise.
Why am I Excited?
IF he manages to see the floor and play meaningful minutes, Rodriguez could be one of the up-coming season’s feel good stories. A 28 year old rookie defying the odds? The media and fans will love it.
Rain or Shine can only field in 14 active players per game this upcoming conference. Assuming they don’t bring Jonathan Uyloan and Chito Jaime back and sign Almazan, Nuyles and Teng, Rodriguez is actually the team’s 16th player. Coach Yeng has been quoted saying that the 28 year old will be signed, but he will most likely be a practice player this coming season.
For all intents and purposes, this pick is another marketing win for Rain or Shine. While Vijandre can hold his own on a basketball court, his impact on this team will be that of increased mainstream awareness and fan support. The current boyfriend of Miss Universe candidate Ara Arida has already started quite a storm on social media after being drafted and this alone has surely introduced more people to the team.
Why am I Excited?
Not sure if I’m that excited for more screaming girls, but the trio of Tiu, Teng and Vijandre should increase the decibel levels of female screams inside the arena this coming season.
I don’t know if Vijandre will accept a practice player’s contract over his GMA and modelling contracts, but it would be a wise move for management to turn him into some sort of team ambassador or something and make him sit behind the team bench during games.