Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia looking forward to picking in upcoming PBA draft

Caloy Garcia believes top rookie prospects Joshua Munzon, Jamie Malonzo and Alvin Pasaol are bound to land in the first three picks in the upcoming March 2021 PBA Rookie Draft.

But the Rain or Shine mentor feels the rookie draft will be one of the richest in years, a reason why he feels they can get a talented wingman or big guard once the team takes its turn with the fifth pick overall.

"I think we're set with the bigs right now because of the addition of Bradwyn (Guinto from NorthPort), so probably we're looking for the best available talent or a long player or a big guard," Garcia told ESPN5 on Monday.

Garcia declined to name one who this early, can be a solid rookie prospect at the no. 5 pick. He noted that NLEX, which owns the third and fourth picks, puts Rain or Shine in a draft dilemma.

"The difficult part there is that NLEX owns two picks (third and fourth picks) so you don't know if they will use them to pick a big man then trade it later to another team. Or we don't really know if coach Yeng (Guiao) will get a big man in the draft," Garcia explained.

Garcia though mentioned that Munzon is an impressive young talent because of his ability to score in bunches.

"I think he's gonna be a two-guard or three because he's a great shooter and he has a scorer's mentality because you don't even need to tell him to shoot," Garcia said, in describing Munzon, whose had stints with the Saigon Heat and the Westports Malaysia in the Asean Basketball League, before carving his name in the 3x3 basketball scene.

On the other hand, Pasaol and Malonzo are also impressive talents for Garcia because of their different skill sets.

"I think Pasaol is a great scorer and he's proven that while played for UE because he's a big guard, who knows how to post up. He's a good specimen for the PBA," he said.

"On the other hand, Malonzo playing in the States, that's one bonus plus his stats in the UAAP of 15 points and 9 rebounds a game, we know the UAAP is a tough competition there already so for a 6-7 wingman, he's going to be good for any team," Garcia added.

But a big guard in the mold of Fil-American Franky Johnson could be a potential fit for Rain or Shine.

Johnson, listed at 6-2, ranked eighth-best 3x3 player in the Philippines as he contributed a lot to the success of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 League last year.

Johnson played for Virginia Union, a US NCAA Division II school in 2015, before moving to play one year for Warner Pacific, a NAIA Division II school in 2016.

He has since carved a name for himself when he began playing in the country, leading the Phenom Basilan CTC Construction to the 2019 Patriot's Cup crown en route to winning the tournament MVP. He has also served PBA D-League residency in 2019 with AMA Online Education.

Still, Garcia would rather keep his cards close to his chest at this point. But he admitted he's looking forward to choosing from a pool of solid rookie talents this year.

"There are so many talented players (in the pool) right now so it's very hard to say who. You'll never know because another team might pick that player you like ahead of you," said Garcia, currently part of the coaching staff of Gilas coach Jong Uichico in Calamba, Laguna where the team will train for ahead of the final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers slated from on Feb. 18 to 21 in Clark, Pampanga.

Potential first round rookie picks include Fil-foreign 6-8 big man Troy Rike, La Salle's power forward Santi Santillan and point guard Andrei Caracut, Ateneo's William Navarro, and Letran's Larry Muyang.