Head Scratcher

On: 05 August 2009

PBA 2009 Rookies

Obviously, this is one of the biggest head scratcher in the last Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Annual Draft last 2 August 2009 at the Market!Market! in Taguig City. Eighty-five percent of all draft analysts may actually be bleeding from the scalp after the ceremony until this time.

Most teams compile a scouting report on a player they would like to pick in the first round, and it is usually pretty long considering the money that they have to pay them later. For those with already proven skills and attitude, maybe only a few pages of information are required. The Sta. Lucia Realtors (SLR), though, may have not bothered with anything that detailed. Their scouting reports may have read, "Really Tall," "Kinda Tall," "Fast," "Not Fast," "Low-Post Threat," or "Not Worth Guarding." This is what many fans though was all they really bothered with.

And critics can say whatever they want about Mark Benitez, but he did get the coveted "Kinda Tall" rating. He's agile, too, and obviously, tall and agility is a good combination. But there are questions about his skills and impact to the game.

It's really not even about Benitez being a bad player. Maybe he could end up later on as being the best player in the draft, nobody really knows. But even if that ends up being true, the issue is that the Realtors could have traded down from #11 and gotten the same player at #17, or in the free agency. The Realtors completely ignored the possibility of picking up the more skillful regardless of position in the draft. That's the crime here.

The Realtors could have picked Marcy Arellano, a certified star point guard with impeccable shooting, which is certainly an upgrade from Christian Coronel. How about Edwin Asoro, who is known to have a very powerful first step and glide that fits perfectly with the style of Yeo. He also has this swagger that could endear him to the Realtor’s fans. Even the scrappy, hardworking Orlando Darroya would fetch a higher market value than Benitez.

According to some scouts, Benitez has improved a lot during his stint at the Liga Pilipinas league, but that remains to be seen. With this pick, SLR fans can’t shake the feeling and memories of the previous drafts when the Realtors pass on Jeff Chan in favor of Chito Jaime, Marvin Cruz and Jojo Duncil in favor of Melvin Mamaclay, and Larry Fonacier in favor of Cesar Catli.

The only hope at this time is for resident veterans Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino teaching Benitez a thing or two before the All-Filipino Conference starts in October.

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