SLR Picks Gregorio at 10

On: 19 June 2009

Kelvin Gregorio of UE

Not a few wondered if the Sta. Lucia Realtors (SLR) was right in drafting University of the East's (UE) Kelvin West Gregorio during the annual Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) draft at the Market! Market! in Taguig City yesterday, 31 August 2008.

Many thought that the Realtors will be drafting another tall fil-am, such as Lawrence Bonus, to fill their need for reliable relievers off the bench. Well, Gregorio might be the man that they are looking for.

Remember that the Realtors thrive on their pressure almost-leech-like defense to overwhelm their opponents, which suits Gregorio's style of play. Aptly described by one journalist before as a running-defensive-team, the Realtors need enforcers in all position to compel their opponents to make mistakes and capitalize on it in transition plays.

At the back court, Dennis Miranda and Ryan Reyes are two of the best if not the best defensive combination guards the league has right now. Reyes even the led the league in steals in the concluding Fiesta Cup last season (2.7 per game), which earned him a place in the Mythical Defensive Team. The burly Miranda, on the other hand, was also one of the leaders in steals and uses his bulk to push his counterparts out of their comfort zones.

In the front court, the former shot blocking leader, Marlou Aquino, is slowly moving towards retirement and do not have the agility anymore to intimidate even shooting forwards. Dennis Espino is slowly getting bogged down by injuries and Dennis Daa needs a few more years of experience to stamp his class in the paint. The Realtors are now left with only Kelly Williams' athleticism and Nelbert Omolon's pesky hands to stop their opponents from scoring.

This is where Gregorio will come in. The 24-year old, 6'4" forward center from Teresa, Rizal is best known for his defensive presence down low. Slowly but surely, he knows how to grind the opponent into submission using his untiring physical strength without resorting to flashy shot blocks or dirty fouls. No wonder he is heralded as the second-coming of Chris Jackson, a defense minister from the now disbanded Shell team.

In the UAAP, Gregorio averaged 9.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, almost 1 steal in 19.3 minutes of action per game. More importantly, he helped the UE REd Warriors reached the Finals of the UAAP Season 70 basketbal tournament in 2007.

While in the amateurs, Gregorio suited for Burger King where he averaged only 4.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 17.5 minutes on the floor per game during the 2008 PBL Lipovitan Amino Sports Cup Semifinals.

Aside from Gregorio, the Realtors also tried to boost its stock by picking Chito Jaime and Christian Cabatu from the draft.

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