It's the time of the year again when teams scramble to plot their coming season and it all begins here—the annual PBA Rookie Draft.
Fans are curious to know who will be the players to be selected, particularly in the first round where the best in the class will be included. The Link is coming up with its own Mock Draft, making its analysis based on the status of the players who applied for the Draft, some of them, particularly Fil-foreign players, have ye to comply with the league’s requirements, while some of them were included in the special draft for Gilas players. I also looked at the current rosters of all the 12 teams and evaluated these players based on their needs.
Let’s start making our top 12 choices.
1. Terrafirma (Joshua Munzon)—There’s no doubt that Joshua Munzon is the player who can fill the big void left by reigning scoring champion CJ Perez, who moved on to the already loaded San Miguel Beermen.
Munzon has the potential to become the Dyip’s new top gun, owing to his rich experience playing in the international level, needless to say, he also plays a similar position previously performed by Perez. Taking Munzon is like a slam dunk for Terrafirma.
2. NorthPort (Jamie Malonzo)—A team built around Christian Standhardinger and Sean Anthony up front, all the Batang Pier need at this time is a wing man. But Jamie Malonzo isn’t just a typical wing man, but at 6-foot-6, he provides the athleticism, the length and the energy this team will surely need.
Did I also mention that Malonzo played for La Salle in a one-and-done season? This gives team owner Congressman Mikee Romero and board governor Erick Arejola more reason to choose the high-flying Fil-Am.
3. NLEX (Calvin Oftana)—Calvin Oftana, the reigning NCAA MVP from San Beda, didn’t include himself from the Gilas pool and that gives NLEX all the reason more to select him as the third overall pick. His versatility, scoring prowess, athleticism and length are qualities that are hard to pass up, knowing that coach Yeng Guiao is looking to shore up his frontline.
4. NLEX (Larry Muyang)—After getting the best talented player available, the Road Warriors’ next target is a bonafide big man and the most solid player at center position is 6-foot-6 Larry Muyang from NCAA champion Letran.
Getting Muyang is like taking in a young Belga, who has a lot of upside and there’s no better coach to hone his skills more than Guiao himself, who turned Beau from a mere enforcer to becoming a star and two-time PBA champion.
5. Rain or Shine (Mikey Williams)—Rain or Shine is looking for a guard who can make an immediate impact—and Mikey Williams fits the bill. Through the years, the Elasto Painters had a knack in selecting legitimate US NCAA Division 1 players. First was Gabe Norwood, next is Mav Ahanmisi and now, Williams could be the third one. Williams took the MPBL by storm when he played for the General Santos City Warriors, then suited up for Mighty Sports and played in major international tournaments. He is bound to use the PBA as his stage to showcase his greatness with Rain or Shine as the more willing taker.
6. Magnolia Hotshots (Alvin Pasaol)— As the status of Fil-foreign players like Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Jason Brickman and Jeremiah Gray hangs in the balance, the Magnola Hotshots will likely turn their attention to another energetic performer in Alvin Pasaol.
Considered as an undersized power forward, Coach Chito Victolero can turn Pasaol into a winner, just like what Calvin Abueva is doing for Phoenix Super LPG. The good news is, Pasaol is a relentless scorer who doesn’t back down from the challenge.
7. Alaska (Troy Rike)—Troy Rike’s personality fits Alaska and with Vic Manuel and Jeron Teng expected to be re-signed anytime soon, the Aces would need an additional frontman, who brings a different dimension up front.
Unlike Manuel, Abu Tratter and Barkley Eboña who love to operate inside, Rike can do it from the perimeter before taking his game in the shaded lane and can complement Rob Herndon, another floor spacer of the squad. And yes, Rike is 6-foot-8 and he will certainly add ceiling to the team.
8. Terrafirma (Leonard Santillan)—Terrafirma’s second pick in the first round will have to be a big man who can complement both Russell Escoto, a player who was re-acquired by the team in a trade involving Perez, and stretch big Aldrech Ramos to give toughness in the interior for the Dyip.
Leonard Santillan is the next best available big man and he already has enough experience to help the rebuilding squad in changing its fortunes.
9. Meralco (James Laput)—“You cannot teach height” is the most overused statement in basketball, but not when you’re talking to the best big man coach out there in Norman Black, a grand slam mentor, who has been longing for a big player who he can develop to match up with some of the big men in the league like June Mar Fajardo, Greg Salughter and Christian Standhardinger.
Standing 6-foot-10 with shoes on, James Laput, who played for La Salle in the UAAP, is one player who is hard to pass up.
10. Phoenix Super LPG (Jerrick Ahanmisi) —The uncertainty on the status of Jason Brickman, easily the best point guard who applied in the PBA Rookie Draft, has certainly boosted the stock of some of the guards among the PBA hopefuls and that gives Jerrick Ahanmisi an opportunity to move up.
A combo guard who has a deadly perimeter shooting, Ahanmisi can certainly complement the outside shooting of Matthew Wright and stretch big Justin Chua, while allowing guys like Calvin Abueva and Jason Perkins the room to operate inside.
11. NorthPort (Andrei Caracut)—Here’s another guard who can benefit on the eligibility issues on Brickman—Andrei Caracut. A dead shot guard, Caracut can certainly complete a potential starting unit where he can join Standhardinger, Anthony, Malonzo, and team up with Garvo Lanete in the back court.
12. Ginebra (Ben Adamos)—When you’re in doubt, it’s not bad to get an insurance big man at the latter stage of the first round. Ben Adamos is a 6-foot-7 center from Perpetual Help and should he join the newly-crowned Bubble champion Barangay Ginebra, he’ll have a chance to learn from the winningest coach in the PBA—Tim Cone.
While being listed on the project list, he can watch and learn from Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, Prince Caperal, Aj Mariano and also Joe Devance.
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