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Stats Don’t Lie: Guinto – The Saving Grace of Mahindra’s 2015 Draft

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Last August, we gave Kia Mahindra a failing grade for “trading” their #2 overall pick to the MVP group. The net result of that trade were two not-bad-but-not-great (and definitely not game-changing) players in veterans KG Canaleta and Aldrech Ramos. The thinking was that with those guys, maybe they’d win a few more games this year but long-term, it was definitely the wrong move.

So far, the expected “instant impact” of the trade has been nonexistent, as the two players have had no effect on the team in terms of standings. Mahindra is battling for the final playoff spot with a 2-7 record.

However, one cannot ignore that the team is doing much better in its second year under Chito Victolero, as it’s been competitive in every game. A lot of this has to do with their top draft pick, Bradwyn Guinto.

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the trading of it’s top pick, the drafting of the Fil-Australian center out of San Sebastian College went under the radar. After all, who the heck pays attention in the second round of the PBA draft?

Apparently, Mahindra’s management did. With no choice but to give away its first round pick, they knew that absolutely had to nail their second round pick. The team instantly targeted a big man, as they were pretty set at the guard spots with young guns LA Revilla and Karl Dehesa and had just traded for aforementioned forwards Canaleta and Ramos. That left the big-man slot to fill.

Enter Guinto.Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Stats Don't Lie:  Guinto - The Saving Grace of Mahindra’s 2015 Draft

I’m gonna go ahead and borrow Revilla’s nickname and say that Guinto has simply been a revelation for the second-year franchise.

He’s currently averaging a solid 9.22 rebounds per game, good for 8th in the league entering December 9. Moreover, he’s grabbing an insane 3.2 offensive rebounds a game, putting him at 6th in the league. Three of the five guys ahead of him? The three biggest dudes in the league, Taulava, Fajardo, and Slaughter!

How the heck is Guinto doing this?

Analysts say that one of the skill-sets that transfers smoothly from the college game to the pro game is rebounding. Look at guys like Abueva or Kenneth Farried in the NBA. Both those guys were great rebounders in college. Their knack for getting to the ball is a skill set that not everyone possesses.

Unlike those two workhorses though, Guinto is not blessed with out-of-this-world athleticism. Instead, he has to rely on old-fashioned hard work and being smart. Guinto is constantly moving around the paint and running the floor, trying to tire out his match up. He also knows how to position himself under the basket and seems to have a good feel for rebounding angles.

In the following clip, we see that Guinto moves in from the outside and boxes Eric Menk in, allowing him to grab any rebound that comes up short.

In the next clip, Guinto rolls to the basket after setting a screen for Bagatsing. Not only does he do a good job of sealing after diving to the rim, but he also pins Manuel on his back. When Manuel tries to go on the high side to prevent a post entry, Guinto shifts his weight, allowing him to get inside position for the offensive rebound.

It also benefits Guinto that he plays alongside Mark Yee, another tenacious rebounder According to Humblebola.com, both Guinto and Yee are in the top ten in rebound rate (an approximate for the percentage of rebounds a person grabs while he’s on the floor). While opposing bigs are preoccupied with Yee and his antics, Guinto can swoop in and get his share of rebounds.

It remains to be seen whether Guinto had a tough time defending the likes of Slaughter and Fajardo during their respective games but those guys have wealth of international and local experience compared to the young buck.

It’s a pick like this that can make a team go up a level. Alaska drafted guards RJ Jazul and Ping Exciminiano in the second round of their respective drafts. Gilas 2.0 studs Larry Fonacier and Jeff Chan were both second round picks as well. PJ Simon was picked FOURTH THIRD (43rd!!!)!

This isn’t to say that Guinto will be a star. But he has the look of someone who can be a solid contributor on a winning team. If Mahindra can nail more picks like Guinto, we definitely won’t be seeing them at the bottom of the standings in a year or two.

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