Many expected Magnolia to select a big man with its No. 10 pick in the 46th PBA Season Rookie Draft on Sunday, but the Hotshots decided to go a different direction by selecting Adamson shooter Jerrick Ahanmisi.
Hotshots head coach Chito Victolero on Monday explained the team's rationale in drafting Ahanmisi, saying the arrival of the ever-versatile Calvin Abueva in the frontcourt made perimeter shooting a more pressing need to address.
"I was very vocal before about getting a big man because that was our position of need. But with the arrival of Calvin and based on what we saw in practice, he can play a lot of positions. He fills whatever we lack up front," Victolero said in Filipino on Monday.
"Going back to our pick, we felt that the big men we wanted at No. 10 were all early picks. So our second option was to get a pure shooter, which was something we didn't have at all," he continued. "I feel this guy is the best shooter out of all the applicants, plus he's a two-way player. He's trained to be one."
It also helped Magnolia's decision-making that none of their big man targets fell to the No. 10. The Hotshots originally had the No. 6 pick, but the Abueva trade last February included a pick swap between them and Phoenix, who subsequently traded down to No. 7 in a separate deal.
"As expected, we didn't get the big man we wanted at No. 10. That's why we chose the best talent that we needed for our team, and I'm very happy and excited for that," said Victolero. "And Jerrick's young. He's only 23 years old. He has a lot of upside and he has so much more to learn, especially if he gets to play with Paul (Lee) and Mark (Barroca)."
In his final season with Adamson in UAAP Season 82, Ahanmisi averaged 13.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot just 29 percent from distance, but that mark belies his ability to effectively space the floor -- something that Magnolia will need more of entering the 2021 season.
Magnolia shot a league-high 35.4 percent on threes in the 2020 Philippine Cup, but they only fired 21.2 attempts per game in 12 contests, a bottom-two mark.
Victolero said Ahanmisi's shooting is a good complement to the numerous playmakers currently on the Hotshots roster.
"We have a lot of playmakers -- Calvin, Mark, Paul, Jio (Jalalon). We needed someone to spread the floor, somewhat a safety valve, so that our spacing improves on offense," he explained.
"Our percentages were good, but we lacked volume there. With the addition of Jerrick, there will probably be an uptick in percentages and attempts," added Victolero.
Magnolia also added Ronnie De Leon with the No. 30 overall pick and Andoy Estrella at No. 41 in the fourth round.
De Leon, 27, is a 6-foot-6 forward from University of the East who can also play the five position, according to Victolero.
"Ronnie is a legit four and five man, plus he's got a perimeter game. I think he'll fit well in the system. But of course, we need to see what else he can do in practice," he said.
Estrella, 28, is a 5-foot-11 guard who played for Mapua in the NCAA and San Juan in the MPBL Lakan Cup.
Right now, Victolero says there are 12 men in the lineup. That's 13 if with Marc Pingris, although the veteran star has yet to communicate his future plans to Magnolia management.
Victolero said he's happy with the current composition of the lineup, although he also clarified that the Hotshots will look to add a couple more pieces from the pool of undrafted players or from the free agents list.
"Usually we don't add a lot of players, because it affects the chemistry and the teamwork and they'll have to deal with learning the system. The kids may have a hard time adjusting. But if we add just one or two players, it's not going to be difficult for both the new players and the ones in our core to adjust to each other," he said.
"It's been about a month since Calvin's begun working with us. The new ones, like Jerrick, he has four weeks. The other guys who will fill our lineup are probably just going to be a bonus, though we'll be looking at kids who can compete in practice and help the team."