Blackwater to retain D-League system for PBA
MANILA, Philippines – Entering as a new team in the upcoming 40th season of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) this October, Blackwater Sports is looking to carry over its tried and tested system from the PBA D-League.
Head coach Leo Isaac is especially optimistic their system will work seamlessly after acquiring the pieces they needed from the expansion draft on Friday, July 18 at Tito Chef's Restaurant, Microtel in Eastwood City, Libis.
"We're going to run the Blackwater system that we used in the D-League. It's the system that has been working good for us," Isaac said after the expansion draft where they selected 12 players for their team.
Blackwater's D-League system of relying on versatile big men produced one title for them in the 2013 Foundation Cup. It also made them practically the only team who could match-up well with 6-time D-League champions NLEX, which will also be making the leap to the PBA through its acquisition of the Airfreight 2100 Inc franchise, or Air21 Express.
"Maybe we can add some more new offensive or defensive systems now that we have some quality players," Isaac added.
Blackwater drafted the likes of Danny Ildefonso, Alex Nuyles, JR Cawaling, JP Erram and Robby Celiz among others. (RELATED: Ildefonso, Cervantes lead PBA expansion draft picks)
"Being a two-time PBA MVP we really wanted him (Ildefonso) in our lineup," Isaac explained the wisdom behind choosing the 37-year old Ildefonso as the first overall pick.
"We know his playing style, what he can do, and we still believe, given the necessary playing time, he can still be the same Danny I as before."
Picking Ildefonso first meant the team looked to take a step forward with their penchant for cultivating deadly big men. It was also an early indication of the team's direction in the coming years as a PBA team.
"We've targeted big guys. We feel in the PBA we really need to have a lot of players who are big, who can compete with the likes of Pingris, Devance, Belga," Isaac explained the strategy they employed for their picks in the expansion draft.
"We put our target on those guys who are 6-foot-5 or 6-foot-6 or power forwards who are 6-foot-4. That was our initial mindset and from then on, maybe in the coming years, that's how we will run the recruitment for Blackwater."
Taking a first look at his current 12-man roster from the draft, Isaac determined his starting unit will consist of Ildefonso, Eddie Laure, Gilbert Bulawan, Paul Artadi, and Nuyles.
Though there will likely be a lot of changes between now and the new PBA season, and factoring in as well the 2014 PBA Rookie Draft on August 24 where Blackwater intends to go for "the next best rookie that would be available by the 12th pick."
Isaac's new team will begin practicing on Monday, July 21, and he is confident they will have a sense of identity already come October.
"We can say by October, Blackwater PBA team na yan." (We can say by October, Blackwater is a PBA team already.")
Asked to summarize his new team in one word, Isaac came up with "competitive." – Rappler.com