• Ward gives rookies passing grades in training camp

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    Some rookie hopefuls during the Philippine Basketball Association Draft Combine held at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Some rookie hopefuls during the Philippine Basketball Association Draft Combine held at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    American skills coach Joe Ward gave this year’s rookie applicants in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft a passing grade.

    Ward, who works as one of the assistant coaches in the San Miguel Beer team, was one of the coaches who conducted drills and various sports tests to all 63 rookie hopefuls in the two-day 2015 Draft Combine at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.

    “They (rookies) are impressive and determined to convince the teams that they can play in the pro league. There’s a difference between the pro and college ball,” Ward told The Manila Times on Thursday.

    “They must know if they are going to work in a corporation or work as basketball player. The must understand the difference. Conditioning is a big deal here, but I’m expecting most of them will be picked on Sunday,” he said.

    Ward also said this year’s batch has an abundance of guards featuring Amahit Maverick of Café France, Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete of San Beda, Ryan Wetherell of California, Mark Cruz of Letran and Keith Agovida of Arellano, among others.

    “We are here in the Philippines that’s why there are lots of point guards and shooting guards,” added Ward, a former PBA import.

    “If you are going to be picked by San Miguel Beer for an example, you have to impress them because you’ll be playing next to Alex (Cabagnot), Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz and Ronald Tubid. You have to show your best,” he stressed.

    For the No. three, four and five po¬si¬tions, Ward said the big men should be more versatile. Only Filipino-Tongan Moala Tautuaa, Troy Rosario of National University and Norbert Torres of De La Salle Univer¬sity are the best big men in the draft so far.

    “They have to be versatile and so far most big men are mobile,” said Ward, also a member of the University of the Philippines coaching staff.

    Tautuaa and Rosario were both excuse for the two-day training camp because they are presently playing for Gilas Pilipinas national team in Estonia.

    All the 12 teams in the PBA will have a chance to bolster their line up in the upcoming 41st PBA season in the rookie draft to be held at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita Manila in the afternoon on Sunday.

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