Among the 85 rookie hopefuls, I was anticipating on the drafting or the non-drafting of former UST Growling Tiger Japs Cuan.
We all know how he is as a player. He is great playmaker with a fearless attitude when he makes his move to the inside. He is a pass-first point guard and was one of the catalysts in UST’s 2006 UAAP title win against JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Chris Tiu, and the rest of the Ateneo Blue Eagles. With Cuan, Jervy Cruz, Dylan Ababou, Mark Canlas, Francis Allera, and Jojo Duncil, Pido Jarencio got his first taste of UAAP coaching gold. And yeah, with the exception of Cuan, all those folks mentioned have seen action in the PBA.
One of Cuan’s biggest problems is that he is not a reliable scorer. While his orchestrations are top notch, the fact that he is not a viable threat on the outside makes his stints problematic. He is kind of the archetype of Paul Artadi. Unlike Kid Lightning though, Artadi was fantastic when he played for ANA Distilled Water and Welcoat Paints in the PBL. Cuan had his moments in the PBA D-League but he never really broke out to marquee status.
I think the only reason why Cuan applied for the 2013 PBA Draft was because he is now old for the PBADL.
Even so, you can’t discount the fact that there is a place for Cuan in the PBA. There are teams in the PBA that are loaded with scorers. This is why players like Chico Lanete, Willy Wilson, Jondan Salvador, and even Harvey Carey continue to exist in the PBA. Teams are too loaded with stars that they forget the role players.
So I guess this is why I wrote this piece. At 28, the most Cuan can do is apply and pray to get picked. One thing lacking in the draft is a pass-first guard and as mentioned… Japs fits the need. Even if Cuan doesn’t get pick, at least he should have participated. Unlike past drafts where the event ends after the last selection of the second round, teams can now pick for infinite rounds. I think this was one reason as to why Alywn Espiritu disappeared from televised basketball. Of course, I highly doubt if the 40 rookies can play in the PBA but Cuan could have.
Maybe he had a valid reason on why he missed out in the pre-draft measurements. I hope it’s not because he thought he’s not worthy to even dream of playing in the NBA. Cuan ranks higher than most of the southern guys and even the players from the Manila schools here.
It would have been awesome for Cuan to have a professional basketball jersey with his name on it. Unlike many who’ll single him out as old and unwanted, he is a value for teams on a lookout for a third string guard. Even if he never had a decent outside shot (even a free throw shot), he was an awesome playmaker back in college that could virtually do no wrong when he played. Maybe he needs to do something else. There was a part of me that thought Cuan purposely went off the radar because he locked himself in a proverbial kung fu basketball camp where he would return armed with the knowledge of a Henry Ong-like three point accuracy and when combined with his insane speed, could probably be a steal in the later rounds.