Global Starts Firming Up Roster

Global Port, the PBA's newest member, is not wasting time to start firming up its roster.

Just days after selecting its draftees, the team is preparing to sign its two first round picks, Vic Manuel and Jason Deutchman.

Four other players it selected in last Sunday's PBA Rookie Draft are also being evaluated.

Manuel and Deutchman were picked 9th and 10th, respectively, by Global Port, which is owned by businessman/sportsman Mikee Romero.

Erick Arejola, Global Port's chief of basketball operations, said they will make contract offers to the 6-3 Manuel, a former MVP in the PBA's D-League, and Deutchman, a 6-6 Fil-Am from San Diego State University.

"We're looking forward to that, we'll talk to them before we start our first practice session," said Arejola yesterday from Macau.

Aside from Manuel and Deutchman, Global Port also tabbed Fil-Am AJ Mandani of Missouri S&T, Macky Acosta of Mapua, Jan Colina of Adamson and VJ Serios of the University of the Philippines.

Batang Pier bought the Powerade franchise for P100 million and inherited its team that includes Gary David and JV Casio.

David, who is currently in Taiwan with the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas II playing in the William Jones Cup, will miss the team's first practice session set Friday, but is a top priority for Batang Pier.

"We'll also evaluate the players we got (from Powerade). There are trade offers, but nothing's concrete at the moment," said Arejola, who has been with Romero since their Harbour Center days in the PBL, and with AirAsia PH Patriots in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).

Arejola said that Glenn Capacio will be the interim coach with Ricky Dandan and Charles Tiu assisting him. Romero said other coaches are also being considered.

Powerade reached the finals of the Philippines Cup last season, losing to Talk 'N Text in five games of the best-of-seven title series.

In other developments, June Mar Fajardo and Calvin Abueva, the first two overall picks in the draft, as well as Fil-Ams Alex Mallari, Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis are expected to command lucrative contracts from their respective teams.

As the No. 1 overall pick, PBA insiders said that the 6-foot-10 Fajardo can get the maximum allowable contract from Petron Blaze for a rookie approximately worth P8.5 million spread over three years.

Similar deals are being readied for Abueva from Alaska, Mallari from Petron, Hodge from Meralco, Ellis from Barangay Ginebra, and even for Chris Tiu, who was tabbed seventh overall by PBA Governors' Cup champion Rain or Shine.

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