If plans do not miscarry, former De La Salle University bruiser Abu Tratter will be drafted by Phoenix when the Philippine Basketball Association holds its Annual Rookie Draft.
Head coach Louie Alas admitted that they are closely looking at tapping the 6-foot-6 former national squad cadet player with still a week left before the draft day on 16 December at Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.
Drafting Abu is possible, but is not yet cast in stone
Alas said the only spoiler in their plan is if potential top picks CJ Perez, Ray Parks and Robert Bolick suddenly become available by the time of their turn.
“Drafting Abu is possible, but is not yet cast in stone,” said Alas, who guided the Fuel Masters to a deep run in the Governor’s Cup.
“We’ll see what happens because the draft stocks are changing every day.”
Columbian owns the top pick while Blackwater and Northport will pick second and third, respectively.
Alas said aside from their regular workouts, their choices would also depend on their needs.
“We can’t say anything sure yet as it will all depend on the rookie workouts and of course, on who we need and who will fit to our system. Let’s see,” Alas said, adding that they also own the 12th pick after shipping Jeff Chan to Ginebra last year.
Alas said they are in dire need of a reliable big man who can lift the load off the shoulders of Calvin Abueva, Willy Wilson, Justin Chua and Jason Perkins.
Tratter is coming in with solid credentials.
He served as a vital cog in La Salle’s title run in 2016 as well as in Marinerong Pilipinos’ consistent semifinal appearances in the PBA Developmental League before being named into the elite ’23 for 23’ Gilas Pilipinas pool for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“We need a reliable big man and a reliable point guard. We already have Jason Perkins, Calvin Abueva and Justin Chua at the front court but we still need another body,” he added.
But should the cards fail to fall on the right places for Phoenix, Alas is not shutting down a possible trade.
“Yes, that’s possible, especially if we will not get our desired pick. We will not force it. If we think that we will not benefit with that pick and he will not fit with our system, then yes, a trade is possible,” he said.
“We may find a better option.”