2011 PBA DRAFT: RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS – WHAT THEY NEED



(This is the first of ten articles called What They Need. Last year, I made a version where we called out a PBA team’s roster and pick out the slots they need to shore up. Most of these deficiencies are addressed via the draft.) 

Rain or Shine blew hot and cold for the second straight year. The management saw their awesome Fire and Ice combo disintegrate on their very eyes because Sol Mercado had issues with Caloy Garcia’s coaching style.

The Painters started the season with Gabe Norwood, Sol Mercado, and Jay-R Reyes being their main squad but ended it with Yeng Guiao bringing the best out of past players like Larry Rodriguez, Jeff Chan, Ronjay Buenafe, and Beau Belga and making the Elasto Painters holdovers like Ryan Arana, TY Tang, and Jervy Cruz another version of the Red Bull franchise.


TOP FIVE ELASTO PAINTERS OF THE 2010-11 SEASON:

1 GABE NORWOOD  
PHILCUP: 11.7PPG – 5.9RPG – 3.8APG – 2.1SPG – 0.7BPG – 15 GAMES
COMCUP: 9.9PPG – 6.1RPG – 3.3APG – 0.8SPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 8.8PPG – 7.0RPG – 4.2APG – 0.8SPG – 13 GAMES

2 LARRY RODRIGUEZ
PHILCUP: 9.3PPG – 5.8RPG – 1.0APG – 0.8BPG – 15 GAMES
COMCUP: 11.0PPG – 6.1RPG – 1.7APG – 0.7SPG – 1.0BPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 8.2PPG – 5.5RPG – 1.2APG – 1.2BPG – 13 GAMES

3 RONJAY BUENAFE
PHILCUP: (AIR21) 17.1PPG – 2.4RPG – 2.0APG – 1.1SPG – 15 GAMES 
COMCUP: 6.3PPG – 1.1APG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 12.7PPG – 2.2RPG – 1.1APG – 1.0SPG – 13 GAMES

4 BEAU BELGA
PHILCUP: (MERALCO) 3.7PPG – 3.7RPG – 0.8APG – 16 GAMES
COMCUP: 8.9PPG – 6.8RPG – 2.0APG – 12 GAMES  
GOVCUP: 8.5PPG – 5.2RPG – 1.4APG – 13 GAMES

5 DOUG KRAMER
PHILCUP: 8.5PPG – 7.5RPG – 15 GAMES
COMCUP: 8.9PPG – 7.8RPG – 0.8APG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 3.0PPG – 3.4RPG – 8 GAMES


WHAT THEY NEED:

CENTERS: Unlike in past years, Rain or Shine aren’t undersized. Doug Kramer was a revelation in the second conference while Beau Belga was the bruiser Yeng Guiao drools upon. However, they are compounded on the problem that they have no marquee big men feared by the likes of Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Sonny Thoss, and Ali Peek.  

FORWARDS: Larry Rodriguez is slowly becoming one of the best underrated players of the league. Gabe Norwood barely reached double figures this season because he is not getting his way in terms of playing time and scoring since the system of Yeng Guiao is so unpredictable. When Mercado left the squad, I thought for certain that Norwood would follow suit. Jervy Cruz continues to claim miniscule minutes because of his inability to adopt the PBA system. John Ferriols, the team’s elder statesman, is one of the team’s X-factors.

GUARDS: This team is loaded with shooters and slashers. Rookies Josh Vanlandingham and RJ Jazul were able to dispatch their skills and become perfect complements for Ronjay Buenafe, Jeff Chan, and Ryan Arana. In terms of defense, he can count on Jireh Ibanes. However on a daily basis, you can’t depend on all of them because they are inconsistent. TY Tang, a crack guard back in college has shown signs of readiness to claim the starting PG spot but his career just wouldn’t move forward.


WHO SHOULD THEY PICK? 

Amongst the teams, this is the easiest to decipher. The second pick overall will either be Marcio Lassiter or JV Casio. The second round selection will be admittedly hard but if there is one thing that Rain or Shine needs to address, they must foolproof that SF spot and have a marquee guard on the PG spot. Lassiter is a smaller version of Rudy Hatfield. He is a hardworker that can hit the jumpers or penetrated amidst defenses. As for Casio, he’ll likely fill the need of Elasto Painters to have a credible quarterback. It will also solve the Painters’ lack of scoring options that has yet to be address with the exodus of Sol Mercado. Sure, Buenafe and Arana are scorers but the more scoring options they have, the more chances of them going to the next level.

The Elasto Painters can pick a big man in Jason Ballesteros however it will be a perfect waste of the number two pick if the Painters would go for filling up spots than claiming the best talent.

Sure, Mark Barroca and Chris Lutz are still in the picture but if Rain or Shine is smart, the best way for them to score an improvement from last season’s so-so stint is through claiming a PBA-ready scorer.

Game over.

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