I normally do not watch the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) draft live on television, but since the television at the office was tuned in to that event last Sunday I decided out of curiosity to see how it unfolded (Sorry, I am not a fanatical PBA fan even if I have been watching some great games and developments from the Filipino pro league since the days of Ramon Fernandez and Bernie Fabiosa).
Unlike last year’s PBA draft which saw the much heralded entry of the towering Greg Slaughter into the league, this year’s en- try ceremony for newcomers generated interest from draft picks who would play the point guard position: Stanley Pringle and Manny Pacquiao.
Pringle is the No. 1 draft pick in the first round and is not a “giant” from the standpoint of professional basketball since he stands 6’1.” Pringle, who studied at Pennsylvania State in the United States, will play the position of point guard for GlobalPort Batang Pier. So was there a chapter in PBA history when a rookie playing the point guard position whip up a storm? That was in 1983 when Ricardo Brown of Puerto Rican descent led the Great Taste team to a finals appearances alongside the gallant efforts of pure shooter Bogs Adornado and center Manny Victorino. Brown almost won the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player award in the same year he debuted in the pro league. Anyway, he was named MVP in 1985.
The past PBA seasons has seen giants steal much of the limelight in the pro league, and we are talking here of the likes of Slaughter, June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar. And there are now a lot of players standing between 6’4” and 6’6” in the pro league. So if Pringle kicks up a storm in his first season, that would show that the “little guys” in the league must also be given attention and accolades.
But when it comes to “little guys” kicking up a storm in the pro league, many will be expecting something spectacular from boxing icon and former top pound-for-pound boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who was listed at 5’6” and will be one of the two cagers in the PBA with that height.
Pacquiao was surprisingly drafted in the first round at No. 11, and his team Kia Sorentos naturally snared him (what else could you expect?).
There are some quarters who would love to chastise Pacquiao for joining the PBA at a time when his boxing career is on its last legs, but I’ll bet you that his first appearance in the pro league will surely be anticipated by thousands of his fans and curious PBA followers.
What I do not want to see is by the end of the 2014 PBA season is the Kia brand of Pacquiao’s team will stand for “killed in action.” You know what I mean—the Kia Sorentos ending up in the cellar with Pacquiao getting bashed for that.
With the new PBA season set to unfold, two big questions come into my mind: will Pringle be able to kick up a storm similar to what Brown did in 1983? (I am wishing he would); and will Pacquiao find a “new” and promising career in the PBA, even if it is for three to four years? (I am praying for that). Good luck!