A big man and six guards.
Not only did Rain or Shine pick more than a handful of players, the team was able to get quality rookie picks as well as the Elasto Painters retooled both their front court and their guard rotation, while preparing for the PBA’s coming season.
Let’s break it down.
Rain or Shine selected Leonard Santillan, a 6’4” forward who’s as tough as nails inside the shaded lane. His game brings a new dimension to the Elasto Painters up front as players like Norbert Torres, Mark Borboran and sometimes Beau Belga, love to play the pick and pop game instead of rolling to the basket.
Having Santillan in the line up will allow the Elasto Painters to have an inside and outside game among their big men and the promising rookie pick selected as fifth overall by the squad will also help 6’6” center Bradwyn Guinto and 6’5” center Jewel Ponferada in anchoring the interior defense of the squad.
In the past All-Filipino tournaments, Rain or Shine has always been lacking the inside presence to defend the dominant big men in the league like June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter and later on, Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar. Proof of this was the team’s two championships, which happened during import-laden conferences — the 2012 Governors’ Cup and the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup — when they had a solid force down low with reinforcements Jamelle Cornley and Pierre-Henderson Niles.
Then came another quality haul of three guards in the second round.
Franky Johnson, a high-scoring 6’2” guard, who played in the D-League and toughened himself up more when he saw action in the Chooks-To-Go 3 x 3 tournament, was more like a big steal for the Elasto Painters in the second round.
With Johnson, the Elasto Painters added a big, scoring guard.
The next picks were more like addressing the team’s lack of a point guard and they selected Anton Asistio, a member of multiple Ateneo Blue Eagles champion teams, and Andrei Caracut, a cerebral guard from La Salle. Prior to the acquisition of these two players, only resident star Gabe Norwood has played the point guard spot for the team as Rey Nambatac and Adrian Wong are more like shooting guards.
Then came the insurance selections.
In the third round, Rain or Shine drafted Kenneth Mocon, brother of Javee Mocon, to give the team another guard, then took in point guard RJ Agramino, who played for Chris Gavina’s previous MPBL squad Valenzuela Classic, in the fourth round. The fifth round was another good time to pick a guard and the Elasto Painters landed talented sentinel Philip Manalang from University of the East.
Taking in all these picks won’t mean they will automatically be included in the line up. No guarantees.
Looking at the new acquisitions, it looks like Gavina wanted to see the guards, primarily the four points guards — Asistio, Caracut, Mocon, Agramino and Manalang — to fight for roster spots. For Rain or Shine, it’s more of a good problem for the team as it had already addressed the need of improving the point guard and the front court.
Silently, but effectively, the Elasto Painters are making an upgrade, one that can bring them a notch higher from being a consistent performer to becoming a legitimate title threat.
Make no mistake about it, Rain or Shine is a no nonsense team.