2014 PBA Dispersal Draft Impressions: Kia Kamao

When the 2014-2015 PBA regular season opens later this year, we will see three new teams take to the floor: the NLEX Road Warriors, Blackwater Sports, and Kia Motors.

Of these three, only NLEX has a relatively intact lineup after it bought the existing franchise of the Air 21 Express. Blackwater and Kia, on the other hand, had to go through a dispersal draft to fill up its roster spots. 

In this second of two parts, I will take a look at the dispersal draft picks of Kia and give my general impression.

Mike Burtscher and Reil Cervantes will carry heavy burdens for Kia
this coming season.

First off, however, let’s be realistic. In the absence of the opportunity to directly hire from the PBA D-League, our expectations for both Blackwater and Kia this season are not exactly sky high. Still, there is something to say about choosing the right building blocks for the future.

Kia’s Dispersal Draft Picks:
Reil Cervantes - PF - 6’4 - 28 years old
Mike Burtscher - PF/C - 6’6 - 29 years old
Hans Thiele - PF/C - 6’5 - 30 years old
Alvin Padilla - SF - 6’3 - 26 years old
Jai Reyes - PG - 5’9 - 27 years old
Paul Sanga - G/F - 6’4 - 26 years old
Angelus Raymundo - F - 27 years old
Eder Saldua - G - 27 years old
Nic Belasco - F/C - 6’6 - 40 years old
LA Revilla - PG - 5’8 - 24 years old
Joshua Webb - SF - 6’2 - 24 years old
Chad Alonzo - PF - 6’4 - 31 years old

Presenting your Kia Kamao squad.
(image from Solar Sports Desk)

Though there’s hardly any marquee name on this roster, it’s, at the very least, younger compared to what Blackwater put together. As a team looking to build a contender, starting with youth is a generally good move. Having said that, in terms of sheer talent, there isn’t much to rave about here. Cervantes is a feisty hybrid-forward who has a nice midrange game, but he’ll hardy strike fear into his foes. Burtscher and Thiele are barely serviceable bigs whose stats will get padded with additional playing time, but nobody should expect anything stratospheric from either guy. Belasco is an oldie who will teach the young ‘uns while getting ‘em checks. Not a bad deal at all for a 40-year old PBAer. 

The backcourt and the wings are where things can potentially shine, though. Reyes and Sanga are potentially dead-eye shooters who can space the floor well while Revilla has the skill-set to be a solid pro playmaker. Hey, if Simon Atkins can put up solid numbers, then I’m sure Revilla can do the same, right?

Oh, and, of course, we all know nobody else is getting Manny Pacquiao or his cousin Rene in the Rookie Draft. Naturally, Kia will pick both guys. I cannot presume to know how either plays, but suffice to say that they will draw in the crowds before the losses pile up and give everyone a reality check.

FYI: Based on PBADraft.net, the projected rookie picks for Kia this year are (aside from the aforementioned Pacquiaos): Frank Golla, Dave Semerad, Philip Paniamogan, and Gab Banal. If we’re being brutally honest (and we should), then the reality is none of these guys really have any All-Star trajectory as of now. Golla can be a solid banger in the post, Paniamogan is streaky, while both Semerad and Banal are hybrid forwards in a league full of bigger-name hybrid forwards. Needless to say, it’ll be tough for these kids.

I don’t want to say Kia tanked in this dispersal draft. I mean, the draft was shallow to begin with, but I also cannot say Kia has built a potential winner because, well, come on, right? Manny will be the main draw here, and the team hasn’t exactly added anybody who can carry this team in an actual basketball game. This team will attract attention due to novelty, but it’ll have to do a lot more to be truly competitive.

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