Mahindra won’t trade 1st round pick

Unlike last year, Mahindra, this time, plans to keep its potential lottery pick in talent-rich PBA Rookie Draft this year. 

Mahindra team manager Eric Pineda said the team’s top-level management made it clear it won’t trade its precious 1st-round pick for any player, given the potential bumper crop of rookies set to join the PBA Draft late this year.

“Yung regarding kay Mo Tautuaa, pakiramdaman lang naman yun, hindi naman seryoso iyun because the owners (of Mahindra) have decided to keep it (first round pick). And we hope to get a good one in the draft kasi nandun sila (Mac) Belo, Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena so madaming potential,” Pineda told FOX Sports.

The 6-foot-7 Tautuaa, selected as the overall pick in last year’s draft, struggled to get his game going in the first 2 conferences as a pro after averaging just 7.86 points and 3.86 rebounds in 15.43 minutes for TNT.

Spin.ph reported last week that the Fil-Tongan big man is being offered to Mahindra in exchange for rookie big man Bradwyn Guinto and the Enforcers’ 1st round pick this year.

Pineda though mentioned that personally, Tautuaa can be a huge additional to the Enforcers because of his size.

“In my personal view, Tautuaa could fit well because we’re lacking in big man, he’s someone who could help us, pero like what I said, yung kay Tautuaa, usap-usapan lang, ‘di naman iyun seryoso,” he added.

Meantime, Pineda said any of the three former college standouts could easily be a good cornerstone to build on, given their immense talent, youth and dynamism.

“I think if we can get someone like Belo, or Parks or Ravena, malaking bagay sa amin yun, who can easily help us on our offense dahil kami, we’re an expansion team and kami, it’s a matter of ano ang kailangan ba namin to get to the next level,” explained the Mahindra team manager.

Belo, recently named the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup MVP, Parks and Ravena are all potential top picks for this year’s Rookie Draft.

The three though have yet to officially declare their availability in the draft.

Belo is currently part of the Gilas Cadet that will be shooting for no less than gold medal in the 2016 SEABA Cup set to start this Sunday in Bangkok, Thailand.

The 6-foot-4 Parks is just coming off a stint with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League, while Ravena is currently undergoing personal training in the US.

The three former collegiate standouts are also being eyed for the Gilas cadet program, which the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas intends to revive. The cadet program will be patterned after the Smart-Gilas program under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman from 2009-2011. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava

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