Vanguardia eyes point guard, big man in PBA Draft

Mike Tolomia (second from left) and Arnold Van Opstal (second from right) are being eyed by Phoenix in the draft. PBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG--Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia sets sights on going for a point guard and a big man come Sunday's PBA Draft.

Speaking to Dugout Philippines during the PBA Draft Combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center on Wednesday, Vanguardia said, "If we can take a big man in the Gilas pick, we'll get a point guard in the regular draft. If we get a point guard in the Gilas pick, we'll get a big one in the regular draft."

The Fuel Masters own the second overall pick in the regular draft and are expected to select early in the special Gilas draft pending a PBA board meeting on Thursday.

Among the Gilas bigs, Vanguardia said, "We're projecting [Arnold] Van Opstal, who's the tallest there, pero [Russel] Escoto, I think, is the most talented big in the draft aside from [Mac] Belo."

Van Opstal was present in Day 1 of the combine but did not participate in the skills test.

Meanwhile, the former Malaysia Dragons coach also said that he is eyeing Jio Jalalon and Mike Tolomia for the Gilas quarterbacks.

On why he is prioritizing the 1, 4, and 5 spots, Vanguardia reasoned, "We have plenty of wings with JC [Intal] healthy now and then Cyrus [Baguio] and John Wilson. Then most of our bigs are shooting bigs like Mick Pennisi, Norbert Torres. They play outside. I want a big that can play inside."

He later revealed that among the regular draft applicants, a good number of them came to their practice last week.

He particularly bared that Gelo Alolino, Chris Javier, Achie IƱigo, Reden Celda, Pao Javelona, Jeoff Javillonar, and Joseph Eriobu came to the team's workout.

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