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Unconventionally yours, Kia

Kia's "unconventional" system has been intriguing so far. Denver Lachica (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

THE past year was an intriguing one for Kia, especially when the team decided to give up its number one pick in an on-paper lopsided trade with San Miguel conspicuously approved by Former Commissioner Chito Narvasa just before the draft.

Ironically, that came after the Picanto went 0-11 in the PBA Governors' Cup, which made the fans question their intent of playing in the league: "Are they really here to compete?"

Actually, Narvasa already raised concerns about it especially when they started the past season with back-to-back blowout losses in the Philippine Cup. They started this season 0-2 as well but with the first game being a close one, but I will delve on that a little later.

No wonder why we thought Kia is among the losers in Philippine basketball for 2017.

Let's get straight to the case. Kia claims that the trade is a part of an "unconventional" type of basketball that the team is employing this season.

Well, in all fairness to the team, its manager, Joe Lipa, has been known for going the unconventional route as a coach.

That coaching won the 1986 UAAP title for UP, the Asian Games bronze medal for the Philippines the same year, and the 2001 UAAP silver medal for Ateneo--actually coming to within a win from stealing the title from La Salle. The last case saw a rookie named LA Tenorio dropping 30 in the rubber match for the Blue Eagles, and now, the King Eagle has become a "Gin-eral" for Barangay Ginebra.

Also, Rashawn McCarthy, who I thought should be included in the package, is finally carving a name for the Picanto.

But the thing remains: Kia gave up the chance to take a game-changer in Chris Standhardinger, and I still keep on thinking, "What if Kia kept the pick and drafted Standhardinger?"

I would say that if I am a member of Kia's war room, I will keep the pick even if it may mean we will have to shell out a lot of money for Standhardinger's contract.

Well, the team was still able to take a first round pick from the draft in 11th overall pick Jon Gabriel, but curiously, he was a DNP in the two games it played last month, which makes me wonder more.

Then, the late plot twists for 2017.

Reports came in that Phoenix Petroleum is set to buy shares of Kia Motors Philippines, including the PBA team.

Not to mention that Chris Gavina stepped down as head coach.

So my question: Is this the unconventional basketball Kia is talking about? If not, what are these recent events all about then?

I hope that Ricky Dandan will turn the tides for the Picanto as he officially comes in as head coach.

My eyes are on them now.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the writer do not reflect those of Dugout Philippines.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno