PBA: A PBA draft prospect consults with Jimmy while, draft pool depth increases the value of ROS’s two first-round selections

Jul 9, 2024

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Evan Nelle made sure he was well-prepared for the PBA Draft.
To be ready for the July 14 events at Glorietta in Makati, the La Salle guard received training from one of the best guards in Philippine basketball history.

For basketball practices with PBA legend Jimmy Alapag, Nelle traveled to Sacramento.
Nelle worked out with Alapag under the guidance of strength and conditioning Coach Maurice Hernandez of Power Pack Fitness, a Sacramento-based facility, for around a week.

Alapag, a legend from Gilas Pilipinas and the 2011 PBA MVP of TNT, is currently the Sacramento Kings’ player development coach.

Nelle also had the opportunity to train with Tayyab Sahid of the Stockton Kings and received some advice from Davion Mitchell of the Toronto Raptors.

VP Global Management’s Charlie Dy, who is a representative of Nelle, accompanied the athlete during training camp.

Prior to becoming a well-known players’ agent, Dy was a champion coach, and he claimed that Nelle came up with the plan to travel to Sacramento and work with Alapag.

“Evan just wants to pick Jimmy’s brain, and at the same time, train with Jimmy who knows the Filipino style of coaching,” Dy, said.

Nelle, 26, is one of the first well-known names to apply for the draft.

Collegiate double

He is one of the select few athletes who has won titles with both the San Beda Red Lions and the De La Salle Green Archers in the NCAA and UAAP.

Along with being a member of the national squad that won a sweep of the 10th SEABA U18 Championship, Nelle also won an NCAA title with the San Beda Red Cubs.

Yeng Guiao, the head coach of Rain or Shine, has many picks at his disposal, and he and his coaching staff are keeping a careful eye on the talent available in the upcoming PBA 49th Season Draft, which will take place on Sunday at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati.

The Elasto Painters will have plenty of options to bolster the team that advanced to the Philippine Cup semifinals this year—the first time the franchise has done so since the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup—with two picks in the first round at Nos. 7 and No. 8, and three more selections in the second round.

Guiao is optimistic that there will be good players remaining in the second round given the depth of the upcoming selection, which will feature Pampanga Giant Lanterns big man Justine Baltazar—who many believe will be the first pick—in the leadoff spot.

According to Guiao, the coaching staff will be watching the Draft Combine intently on Wednesday and Thursday at Pasig City’s Ynares Sports Arena. He stated that a significant part of their selecting process will involve the Combine.

“Wala pa naman kaming definite na ina-eye pero ‘yung Draft Combine will play a lot in our decision. We will have a coaches’ meeting with our team owners on Wednesday to strategize.”

The agenda for this meeting will be decided, according to Guiao. Like most teams, Rain or Shine requires a playmaker, a bigger wingman, or a dependable big. When they select 7 and 8, they will undoubtedly give top priority to the best talent still available.

However, he thinks the big guys will go first.

“Then, our next priority would be to get big at the wings. Baka ‘yung mga titingnan namin ‘yung mga Fil-Ams, we have to seriously take a look at them. And then, our third priority would be to have a bigger point guard. ‘Yun ‘yung general direction namin… A big point guard or a big guard, not necessarily a point, who can make us bigger at the point or at the wings,” Guiao said.

Is Rain or Shine keeping an eye on Dave Ildefonso?

A sort of reunion is expected as Dave Ildefonso applied for the PBA draft and could be chosen by the Elasto Painters to play with his older brother Shaun at Rain or Shine, despite the team not disclosing their decision. In Rain or Shine’s need for a large guard, Ildefonso’s 6-foot-3 stature makes him suitable.

Ildefonso will be on their radar come draft season, according to Guiao.

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