Thanks to his exploits in the past NCAA season – where he had three triple-double performances – Letran Knights’ versatile forward Bong Quinto was highly expected to be picked in the first round of the guard-heavy 2018 PBA Rookie Draft.
But that did not happen.
The stocky 6-foot-1 forward slid all the way to the second round of the draft proceedings, which featured a bevy of surprises that rocked the whole Midtown Atrium of Robinsons Place Manila in Ermita, Sunday evening.
Even Meralco head coach Norman Black admitted that he was surprised as well, as the Bolts were still able to pick up Quinto with the 14th overall pick. “I could not believe it, actually. For me, he was definitely a first round pick.
“I could not believe he dropped to the second round,” said Black.
For his part, the Letranite is simply honored that he was drafted.
“Ang importante dun, na-draft ako. Yun naman ang goal eh.
“Siyempre, ‘di naman natin hawak yung mga decision,” expressed Quinto, who was part of the All-NCAA team last season.
After surprisingly getting Trevis Jackson with the fifth pick, the Grand Slam coach said that he was actually looking to nab 6-foot-6 center Jeepy Faundo in the second round – the Bolts have always wanted to have a big man on their side.
But it was hard to pass up on somebody like Quinto, Black said.
“I wanted to choose a big guy; probably Faundo. But when he was sitting there, I had no choice but to take him because he’s a multi-talented player,” he said.
“Not only can he score the basketball, but he can pass and rebound.”
Quinto, on the other hand, can’t wait to pick the brains of his new mentor as he looks to stay in the big league for the long haul.
“Maganda rin na nasa Meralco ako kasi kay coach Norman, marami akong matututunan sa kanya,” Quinto shared.
“Siyempre. Ang tagumpay ng kasama ko rito, tagumpay ko na rin. Ang maganda rin dito, lahat ng Letran na nagpa-draft, nakuha.”
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