The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, held at the Robinson’s Place Manila, did something new for the first time since 1985.
As per tradition, the league commissioner opened the ceremony by welcoming the fresh batch of rookies. And his short but sweet speech had a special line for the coaches – particularly NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao.
“To the coaches and players who came, thank you very much. Pasensya na kayo sa mga desisyon ko. Pagbigyan na niyo ako,” quipped the amiable official.
“Coach Yeng, I love you!”
That was the last Marcial spoke for the night.
Unlike in past drafts that saw the commissioner announce every pick, Marcial passed the duties of announcing their draft picks to the teams – literally, anyone from the team.
And the fun began.
For the fourth pick, Guiao made sure to create a moment that both NLEX and eventual pick Paul Desiderio had for their own.
“Sa amin na ‘to, amin na ‘to. Paul Desiderio!”
But the 11th overall pick created some confusion.
Columbian Dyip consultant Art dela Cruz was the one who made the announcement. And for their second pick in the first round, Columbian selected…
It caused a bit of a fuss, as there was an aspirant named CJ Isit and another named JP Calvo. Eventually, it was decided that Calvo was their pick.
Prior to the draft, Phoenix head coach Louie Alas had tried to start a running joke that he was going to draft team manager Paolo Bugia as the 12th overall pick. He made true to that promise.
“We are selecting Paolo Bugia,” he said in jest, before picking Jorey Napoles.
All-around funny man and Ginebra assistant coach Richard del Rosario had a moment as well.
After three hours of sitting down, the Gin Kings only had their first pick of the draft at the 32nd pick. Del Rosario had the time of his life when he made the team’s reveal.
“Good evening everyone. We are very happy to be included,” he opened before selecting Matt Salem.
It was also a time for the coaches to make fun of their players as well.
Alas and Northport’s Pido Jarencio passed the task to announce their late picks to their Filipino-American players. The catch was they had to do it in Tagalog.
And boy, did Jason Perkins and Stanley Pringle struggle.
“Ang pipiliin ng Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters ay si Kim Cinco,” said Perkins, who stuttered a little bit.
And leave it to Jarencio to close out the show, as he picked Mo Tautuaa to do the job.
“Ayaw na namin! Ayaw na namin!” the Fil-Tongan quipped.
With the show getting rave reviews, Marcial looks to keep it this way under his watch.
“Mas maganda na yung coaches at players ang nagsasabi ng mga picks nila, para rin makita sila ng mga fans sa drafting,” expressed Marcial.
“Diba maganda naman ang nangyari?”