Paul Anthony Artadi has officially demanded to be released by Purefoods and it looks like the team may be willing to do so. Zean Macamay of People’s Journal reports that the player dubbed as Kid Lightning for his lightning-like speed on the court has approached Purefoods management and asked to be released, citing limited exposure given by the coaching staff as the main reason.
â€œHe (Artadi) is disappointed about his exposure,â€ said a person close to Artadi and who requested not to be identified. â€œHe wants to be released so he can find other options.â€
The contract of the former University of the East star will still expire on September 15 but Artadi made the first move to resurrect his plunging pro basketball career. He joined the trip in the Bahrain goodwill games last week and at times showed flashes of brilliance. Artadi was actually one of the team’s surprise performers during the last Philippine Cup, displaying an improved perimeter arsenal but in the Fiesta Cup he was again relegated to the bench and as a result, his confidence slowly dwindled. His shooting percentage dropped from 56% in the Philippine Cup to 39% in the Fiesta Cup. For the season he shot at a respectable 49%, the best mark in his 3-year career.
The signing of Chico LaÃ±ete made the decision a lot easier for Artadi (and probably also for Purefoods). LaÃ±ete, who signed with the team for two years, is already turning out to be a favorite among the coaching staff. He has size, playmaking ability and has a pair of deadly shooting arms from the outside, something Artadi is not consistent at. His presence will almost surely push Artadi further down the bench.
Artadi was a second round selection of Purefoods in the 2004 PBA Draft. He was the first pick of the second round (11th overall) and immediately made his presence felt for Purefoods in the team’s first few games. His speed in transition quickly reminded Purefoods fans of a young Dindo Pumaren, only… he can’t shoot. Teams began to take note of this weakness and Artadi miserably failed to make defenders pay when he is left open on the perimeter.
Does the imminent release of Artadi do the team good? Artadi, for all his weaknesses as a player, is still a fixture on the Purefoods’ bench. He is one-man press breaker, he changes the complexion of the game whenever he is fielded in, he is a pure point guard in a league where there aren’t many pure point guards, his tandem with James Yap is always a beauty to watch in the open court. Artadi defines speed and passing ability. He sets the tone of the game with his infectious energy. LaÃ±ete and Roger Yap may be good but do they have the ability to keep pace with the league’s faster point guards?
Purefoods fanatics hope that the Olsen Racela scenario won’t happen to them again. Racela was a young backup point guard whom the team traded to San Miguel in 1997. He was destined to be a backup but ex-Beermen coach Ron Jacobs saw something in him that others didn’t. Racela became a star in the San Miguel team and slowly inched his way to be one of the league’s best point guards of all-time. Purefoods has not had a great pure point guard in its roster since Dindo Pumaren wore the team colors in the 90s, and that was a long time ago. Does Artadi have what it takes to be a great one? He does have the skillset necessary to be great (minus the erratic shooting of course) and if he slowly gains confidence in believing what he can do on the court, he can be one someday.