Reality bites in PBA Draft; road to pros not always easy
BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening View comments Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Diego Dario (middle) was part of UP’s seniors corps in the last UAAP season, along with star Paul Desiderio (right). But while Desiderio was picked fourth overall in the PBA Draft, Dario had to wait until the third round before getting selected. —Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netOnce upon a time, Diego Dario played in the center of the basketball universe. His University of the Philippines won hearts in a gallant effort to topple Ateneo in the UAAP Finals, and Dario was in the middle of it, hitting booming triples that sent thousands of people roaring.Less than two weeks later, he was just another face in a group of hopeful amateurs waiting—some eagerly, some pensively—for their names to be called in the PBA Draft.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “It’s gonna be hard, realistically, it’s hard,” said coach Topex Robinson, whose career was a counter-narrative to the tale of woe of many a college star. Robinson was not that big a name in college but was blessed with a lot of success in the pros while playing for Red Bull.“Only a handful have easy access to the PBA,” Robinson, now a coach, added. “Most people who stay in the league are the ones who always outwork everybody.”Dario’s personal trainer, Patrick Tancioco, thinks his ward can eventually sign a contract despite the odds.“He wants to prove something. He feels like people have written him off,” Tancioco, who worked with Dario prior the UAAP season, told the Inquirer.“We had to start by cleaning his lens,” he revealed. “He was impatient. He wasn’t comfortable. He has had his share of breakout performances in the past. Earlier this year, he felt he was underutilized. It’s tough to actually perform if one’s not physically and mentally ready.”Dario is ready now. There is a blueprint for guys like him to land a contract and he hopes to follow that to the letter.Dirty work“Coach Topex told me that in the draft, teams aren’t looking for stars,” Dario said. “He said that clubs are looking for the guys who are willing to do the dirty work, the stuff most players overlook.”For someone who once dreamed of being like Jayson Castro or LA Tenorio, and who looked to fit the bill just two weeks before the draft, Dario now has as his peg Anjo Caram, an NCAA star who earns his contract by being Meralco’s go-to defensive guy at the guard position.“I’ll just continue to be myself—a super pesky defender. And hit open shots. I’m confident with those,” Dario said. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Bench keeps Alab PH fresh for next game None of them had remarkable pro careers.Cautionary talesFor every Kiefer Ravena who fulfills his potential in the pros, there are cautionary tales of college MVPs that keep scouts wary during the Draft: RR Garcia, Dylan Ababou, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Ken Bono have all struggled to find stardom in the pros.Teytey Teodoro, another proven scorer in the NCAA for Jose Rizal U, also had trouble keeping his stock up during the Draft. He was picked first—in the third round. Just one spot ahead of Dario, who was relieved just to be taken by Blackwater.But the road to the PBA has just begun for the likes of Dario.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion As name after name got called and Dario still remained seated, the roars of the UAAP Finals grew more and more distant.“It’s the life I chose,” he told the Inquirer. “The chatter during the Draft Combine was that there was a lot of guards—that there were too much of us.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefWell, there’s that. But the PBA Draft is a fickle monster and teams usually don’t take small sample sizes—such as two games—in order to decide on an investment.In fact, Philippine basketball is littered with players who made quite a name for themselves in college but struggled to keep their names high on the list of PBA teams during Draft day. Jojo Duncil, the spearhead of University of Santo Tomas’ miraculous title run in 2006, was selected late in the second round (15th overall). Ronjay Enrile, a one-time folk hero at Letran, was selected 17th overall. MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.