All it took was one workout to convince Phoenix Super LPG to pick Larry Muyang in the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft last Sunday.
Fuel Masters head coach Topex Robinson admitted that the team hadn’t been really keen on the Kapampangan bruiser that much until that session, which took place days before the virtual draft proceedings.
“We only saw Muyang Friday — [the] Friday before the [draft],” the youthful bench tactician told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART.
“And to be honest, we weren’t really so keen on Muyang. [But] When we worked him out, we were unanimous that we’ll pick this guy.”
Robinson said that they made Muyang run through drills which they “thought he could never do”, only for him to impress in the end. So much, actually, that they used their no. 7 pick to nab the burly big man out of Letran.
That pick was part of the package Phoenix got via trade with Alaska last February that had wantaway star Vic Manuel as the centerpiece.
“We did drills on him that we thought he could never do. Kasi nga, when you say Larry, he plays perimeter even with Letran,” he said.
“But nung nag-drill kami — obviously you guys know that we let our bigs shoot threes — he shot a lot of threes doon sa drill namin,” the cager-turned-mentor continued.
“And he was so consistent. And he enjoys it.”
That ability to shoot the three-ball, said Robinson, is important for the Fuel Masters. Phoenix’ top big men in Justin Chua and Jason Perkins have proven themselves effective in knocking down shots from beyond the arc.
“‘Yun ‘yung importante sa’min and our system. Obviously, Justin is shooting threes — even Jorey [Napoles] has started shooting threes. So we need bigs that could really shoot threes,” he said.
Some pundits thought that Phoenix would get super scorer Alvin Pasaol with its first-round pick. Robinson, though, said that it was tough to pass up on Muyang, citing his pedigree.
Before deciding to forego his final year with the Knights to turn pro, the 6-foot-6 slotman helped the school rule the NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball wars at the expense of powerhouse squad San Beda.
He was also part of the San Juan-Go for Gold crew that ruled the 2018-19 Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Datu Cup.
“I’m not discounting Pasaol’s numbers or what he could bring to our team if ever we decided to choose him. But we cannot pass on a Muyang. He just won a championship.”