Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters have made tender offers to the six rookies they selected in last Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft, giving the team enough time to analyze if they are fit to the team.
Phoenix team manager Paolo Bugia said coach Topex Robinson is ecstatic with the rookies they selected in the Draft, and all six would be given a chance to prove their worth in the coming days.
“With the picks that we had, we’re really thinking long-term,” said Bugia when contacted Thursday, March 18, by Manila Bulletin. “We feel that they are impact players, and coach Topex likes the picks.”
The tender offer sheet allows a team to keep the rights of the player they picked during the draft, or a player with expired contract but they intend to keep for the coming season.
During the draft proceedings, Phoenix – a team that made the semifinal round during the previous Philippine Cup – selected a total of six players, led by former Letran stalwart in Larry Muyang, who was chosen No. 7 overall in the first round by the Fuel Masters.
In the second round, Phoenix Fuel picked Nick Demusis from Whittier College and Aljun Melecio from De La Salle University on back-to-back selections at 18 and 19, then added Reymar Caduyac in the third round, Max Hentschel in the fourth round and Jerie Pingoy in the fifth round.
During the draft, the team only has 10 players under contract.
These are Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, RJ Jazul, Jake Pascual, RR Garcia, Jorey Napoles and Jansen Rios, as well as Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero – two players the team obtained through separate trades.
Bugia said that was the reason why they got six rookies, although he mentioned they’re expecting free agents to tryout for roster spots, including one of their own in JC Intal.
“We maximized the draft because we only have 10 players under contract. They would be the core rotation for coach Topex, plus the (rookie) picks that we had,” said Bugia.
“We’re still on the lookout for free agents, veterans who are still serviceable, suitable to the system of coach Topex. The core will of course have majority of the playing minutes, so we want to add veteran who can play quality minutes for the team.”
The six rookies, Bugia said, will have their swab test today together with the rest of the team.
If they are negative for COVID-19, he said the team has already set practice on Monday for small group workout to check on their skills and conditioning as the league eyes to start the 46th Philippine Cup this April.
“We would like to take a look at them, their skills and conditioning. That’s what they’ll do for now because 5-on-5 scrimmage isn’t allowed yet. We want to see what they got,” said Bugia.
Each team in the league is allowed to have 15 players on the roster, plus one on active injury list. With 10 players under contact, six rookies with tender offer and a few more free agents, Phoenix hopes to finalize its lineup in the coming weeks to prepare for the all-Filipino conference.
Also, another possible opportunity for players is to get to the 3x3 spot of the 11 teams (only Alaska will not participate in the inaugural tournament this season). PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said that 5-6 other independent teams are hoping to join the event.