When Christian Standhardinger was called up to the stage after being named the top overall pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, a chorus of boos was heard at the Robinson’s Place Manila. It was as if the moment that fans of other teams only thought would happen in a nightmare just became a reality: the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger will pair up with reigning Most Valuable Player, the 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo.
And the same could be said for the other coaches in the league, as their work has just gotten tougher.
“Nalulungkot ako, hindi ako nagagalit. I’m just sad over the situation dahil nga lahat ng nakausap ko, they had some misgivings about the situation, and wala akong masabing dahilan because I’m also part of the PBA,” said second-year NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao, “Matalino naman yung basketball public, alam nila yung nangyayari.
“The sad thing for me is naghusga na yung mga tao. Nahusgahan na tayo.”
The way the Beermen ended up with the top overall pick was vexingl to say the least, as the deal had needed three revisions in a span of one week to get approval from Commissioner Chito Narvasa. Even with those revisions, the pieces that were shipped from San Miguel to Kia drew ire from the fans.
The apparent coveted piece by the Picanto in the trade was 14-year league veteran Ronald Tubid. But Tubid had played just seven games in the Governors’ Cup and played a grand total of just 29.1 minutes.
The other chips were 15-year pro Yancy De Ocampo, who played in just 24 games last season; incoming sophomore Rashawn McCarthy, who logged in just 48.9 minutes the entire season; and a first round pick in the 2019 Rookie Draft, which will most likely end up as a low pick.
“I don’t have any comment on the trade. We just have to mind our own business,” said Meralco Bolts head coach Norman Black, whose team has struggled in the past during All-Filipino conferences, “They already have the best player in the league and they added a young, PBA-ready big man. It’s going to be tough for us to match up with their size.”
“First of all, the decision was made and we have no control over it. As I’ve said in my tweet, it’s going to be nice to see June Mar and Christian play together but my tweet was specifically for the Gilas program,” added TNT’s chief tactician Nash Racela, “I was hoping to see them play together sa Gilas but it will happen in the PBA with San Miguel. This just makes it harder for all the other teams.”
Having a champion team add a blue chip rookie to their arsenal destroys the whole essence of the draft, according to the coaches. But for incoming Phoenix head coach Louie Alas and Alaska’s mentor Alex Compton, they have no other choice but to get back to the drawing board and make do with what they have.
“Sobrang hirap kasi lumaki yung disparity. Ito yung magiging trabaho namin as coaches para maka-compete kami sa malalakas na team,” expressed Alas.
“Well out work just got harder, San Miguel’s clearly the best team in the league. San Miguel deserved everything they got this year as their worst conference they were 7-4,” recalled Compton. “I mean, that’s like, they won two championships, fall apart, and you’re still 7-4, that’s how good they are.
“I’ve known about Standhardinger for years. I wish San Miguel has a weakness but they don’t. Our job, the rest of us coaches, we get to try to find a way,” Compton furthered.
With the papers already signed between the Beermen and Standhardinger, the concession that the rest of the league is asking for is a way for this to be avoided in the future.
“Medyo hindi match yung trade pero sinupport nung governors kaya walang magagawa si commissioner kung hindi i-execute yung trade,” shared Alas, “Sana next time may innovation yung drafting system para maiwasan yung ganun.”
“We have to live with that. Siguro it’s time to move on,” said Guiao.