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Cardel eyes reliable big man in Draft

TERRAFIRMA coach John Cardel said the team intends to boost its front court by selecting a legitimate big man as the Dyip owns the top pick in the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft slated this Sunday, September 17, at the Market! Market! in Taguig.

High on their list include Filipino American big man Keith Datu, who saw action for the PBA 3×3 team Wilcon Depot, Fil-Aussie Brandon Bates and former UP Fighting Maroons' Zavier Lucero.

Zavier Lucero UAAP PHOTO

“Bates looks promising, but we'd also like to see Datu, while Lucero also has the talent, though he's still recovering from injury,” Cardel told The Manila Times after observing Day 1 of the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine on Tuesday, September 12, at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

Initially, Cardel was hopeful that former La Salle big man Justine Baltazar would throw his hat in this year's rookie draft. But the agile power forward didn't apply for the draft at the close of the 5 p.m. deadline last Sunday.

“There's nothing we can do since Balti did not join the draft. He must have a reason for that,” said Cardel.

The Dyip have missed a franchise-worst 15 straight playoffs appearances, including the last 10 under Cardel. The franchise's first and only playoff appearance happened during the 2016 Governors Cup when Chris Gavina still called the shots with athletic James White as the team's import.

No wonder, Cardel said they are eager to build on the talent-rich draft pool in the hopes of coming out with a strong showing when the PBA Season 48 fires off on its new opening date on November 5.

Bates had a brief stint with La Salle under Derek Pumaren before eventually flying back to Australia to continue his studies at the University of Sydney.

Later, the 6-foot-8 Fil-Aussie played for the Sutherland Sharks in the National Basketball League 1 where he posted 3.8 points on 64-percent shooting, to go along with 3.9 rebounds in 14 minutes last season.

He then went on to play for Platinum in the PBA 3×3.

Lucero, on the other hand, is still recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear on his knee, which he suffered at the tail end of his final year with the Fighting Maroons.

The athletic Lucero earned a spot in UAAP Season 84 Mythical Five, helping UP win the men's basketball title and ending 36 years of fruitless campaign.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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