Coach Fernandez Defends Pick

On: 08 August 2009

Coach Boyet Fernandez

After failing to snag a deal with the other teams who were looking to unload some bigmen in exchange for low-priced players, the Sta. Lucia Realtors (SLR) will most probably try to work at landing a veteran talent from the free-agency market.

The Realtors has missed on Enrico Villanueva, Rob Reyes and even Mike Hrabak, but the Realtors hit on Gabby Espinas in a deal with Barako Bulls was arguably a good move that offsets any other failed negotiations in the off-season.

However, SLR fans will not be pleased with this sole acquisition. They want to see a more beefed-up frontline to help veterans Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino. They recognized the need to transform the aging line-up into a more dynamic and active defensive running team. And they know that the 2009 PBA draft last 2 August offered this option.

Unfortunately, after picking Mark Benitez at No. 11 and Angeles City-born Charles Waters at No. 17, more questions remained unanswered and more fans are left bewildered.

Both are talented players who helped their teams make memorable runs at the Liga Pilipinas league. However, neither projects could measure up to the next level. Benitez is an undersize center with average athleticism, and he brings little else to the table besides limited scoring. Aside from having Kelly William as a brother-in-law, Waters is an undersized power forward with very little perimeter game, and his inconsistency will most probably drive Coach Boyet Fernandez crazy.

Despite these observations, Coach Fernandez is confident about his team's choices in the draft, particularly with Benitez. In a rare post at the official Sta. Lucia Realtors website, Coach Fernandez explained, "I am sure you are all surprise about Mark Benitez. Mark is a decent big guy who played for La Salle 2 yrs ago. He stands 6′5, can post up and have an outside shot even in the 3-PT area. We are looking for him as a project and he may not be an impact player right away but he will be a very good role player."

"As you all know, Marlou and Dennis are not as healthy these past years, so we are looking for big guys to relieve them from time to time. Let me also clarify that all players we picked at the draft, other free agents and our expired players will fight for their slot in the team," Fernandez added.

Hopefully, that explanation by Coach Fernandez is enough to appease the unforgiving taste of SLR Believers. Whatever happens, though, their fans are assured of one thing. Superstar Kelly Williams will continue to stay as a happy and contented Realtor as long as Waters is included in their roster.

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