The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters finally secured the services of rookies Leonard "Santi" Santillan, Fil-American guard Franky Johnson and Anton Asistio after officially signing the three incoming freshmen on Monday at the team's Asian Coating corporate head office in Pasig.
Santillan, the team's fifth overall pick in the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft over a week ago, inked a three-year rookie pact with the Elasto Painters. The Cebuano forward signed his contract in the presence of his representative Marvin Espiritu of EMBM, team owner Raymund Yu, team governor Atty. Mert Mondragon, alternate team governor Edison Oribiana and assistant coach Jireh Ibañes.
The 6-foot-2 Johnson agreed to a two-year deal with Rain or Shine, while Asistio, the former Ateneo Blue Eagle team skipper, settled for a one-year contract. Johnson (17th overall) emerged as one the team's three second-round picks, along with Asistio, who was selected 22nd, followed by ex-La Salle Andrei Caracut.
"Everyone's happy and excited because now, they can settle with the team and focus on basketball," Espiritu told ESPN5 on Monday.
The entry of the three new recruits injected more young blood into an Elasto Painters side that just recently named Chris Gavina its new coach, while moving former head mentor Caloy Garcia as team consultant, along with retaining his post as head of basketball operations.
"Looking at this team, Rain or Shine seems to be entering a new era now with more young players in the team," shared Espiritu. "It was a light negotiation because both parties know the capabilities of the three players already."
Santillan, the 25-year-old product of University of Visayas and later, La Salle, adds athleticism, size and offense at the frontcourt for ROS, which already has burly big man Beau Belga, Jewel Ponferada and Bradwyn Guinto. The team got Guinto last February after trading Sidney Onwubere to NorthPort.
Johnson, meanwhile, brings toughness on defense and scoring spunk, while Asistio easily adds backcourt depth for Rain or Shine, which currently has Rey Nambatac and Adrian Wong.