Jamie Malonzo was heavily expected to be picked first overall by AMA in the 2020 PBA D-League Draft on Monday.
Surprisingly, though, the Titans instead chose an unheralded 17-year-old point guard in Reed Baclig with the top pick, in the draft proceedings held at the league’s office in Libis, Quezon City.
Malonzo — who played for De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 82 and was a part of the Mythical Team — was then scooped up by ball club Marinerong Pilipino with the second pick.
AMA assistant coach Edwin Ancheta, who filled in for chief mentor Mark Herrera in the selection process, explained the team’s decision to pass on the 6-foot-6 wingman.
Ancheta said that AMA, who is entering its seventh season in the developmental ranks, put a premium on prioritizing and showcasing its homegrown talents, so it went with Baclig.
“Reed Baclig is a homegrown talent, from elementary hanggang ngayon sa amin naglalaro,” Ancheta said.
“Mas ano kami ngayon sa [pagiging] school-based namin. Mas gusto namin i-develop,” he added.
“‘Yung grassroots namin gusto namin i-implement. We’re developing players, not pick by pick.”
The Titans’ decision may seem unconventional for some, but Ancheta maintained the school’s stance.
“Siyempre bata, talagang mabilis. In terms of experience hindi pa ganun kaano, pero maasahan,” he said.
“Sayang kasi may pangalan, eh kaya lang mas gusto namin mag-develop.”