PBA Mock Draft 2012: After Fajardo, who's next?
MANILA, Philippines - We are two days away from seeing another bumper crop of players enter the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Beckoning upon us is one of the deepest drafts in years and with trade winds still circulating in the rumor mill, we will never know who will end up with which team come Sunday, August 19.
Here is Rappler's PBA mock draft:
1. Junemar Fajardo, Petron Blaze Boosters
A legit six-foot-10 with above average post-up skills and a relatively injury-free collegiate career doesn't come every draft day. So Petron definitely gets a blazing boost here by drafting Fajardo, who was unimpressive in his debut in the ABL but has proven his worth in Cebu as the best player after Greg Slaughter flew to Manila.
Fajardo automatically steps into the starting center position currently occupied by the legendary Danny Ildefonso. Fans of the Boosters, however, can only hope that "The Kraken" would follow Ildefonso's footsteps and not those of another franchise top pick (2nd overall in 2007), Samigue Eman.
Other possible picks: None. Petron is hell-bent on bringing this giant into their lair.
2. Calvin Abueva, Alaska Aces
"The Beast" definitely doesn't embody the image Alaska has projected ever since they joined the PBA. He is known for his volatility and on- and off-court antics that have ticked off not only opponents, but fans of the NCAA as well.
But how could you ever pass up on a talent like Abueva, a six-foot-two bruiser who can put up 20 points and pull down 20 boards (he's averaging a jaw-dropping 21 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 block and 1 steal as of posting time) anytime he wants to dominate?
The Aces, if they can put Abueva under control and learn how to use him wisely, will most probably see their glory days back sooner rather than later.
Other possible picks: Cliff Hodge, Chris Tiu, Alex Mallari (depending on their state of mind come draft day).
3. Chris Tiu, Petron Blaze Boosters
Tiu is a cager whose popularity transcends the basketball court. After all, as a player, entrepreneur, commercial model and TV host, Tiu has built a huge following that would definitely help Petron's stock in the fans' department.
The Boosters are stacked in the backcourt, but adding Tiu would help add stability, high basketball IQ, championship swagger and an understanding of rumored new coach and current team consultant Rajko Toroman's system. Alex Cabagnot and Denok MIranda might be ahead of him in the depth chart when the season starts.
But then again, Tiu has proven that he is smart and good enough to rise up and be a star in his own right.
Other possible picks: Whoever Alaska decides not to pick.
4. Cliff Hodge, Meralco Bolts
It's actually more logical for Petron to pluck Hodge out and add them to their star-studded roster.
However, because Chris Tiu is Chris Tiu, the athletic forward slips to fourth and straight onto the waiting arms of Coach Ryan Gregorio and Meralco, a possibility that helps one of the league's youngest franchises to compete better in the upcoming season.
Asi Taulava is not getting any younger (and his contract expires by the end of this month) and the Bolts' frontcourt has nothing to show after JR Reyes. I
f he, indeed, slides to this spot, Hodge is the perfect fit for Meralco as he gives them height, post scoring, excellent interior defense and an improving midrange jumper --- a concoction that made him one of the best stars in the D-League.
Other possible picks: Chris Tiu (for actual fans). Calvin Abueva (for more chemistry problems).
5. Chris Ellis, Barako Bull Energy
The high-flying Ellis has been compared to Danny Seigle, what with both players possessing freakish athleticism and an ability to drive strong and finish around the hoop.
"Dynamite Danny," of course, had the more polished game coming into the league and if Seigle remains with the team, he would be the perfect mentor for Ellis, not only in basketball but also in adjusting to PBA life. They're both Fil-Ams, after all.
Ellis has a potent combination of skills, size, speed and athleticism and all these might come in handy for an aging Barako squad hoping to retool for longer runs in the upcoming season.
He will be expected to provide the energy that the Energy needs in the second unit and will definitely be a matchup nightmare for anyone who tries to stop him.
Other possible picks: Chris Tiu (for actual fans). Alex Mallari (for a playmaker and shot-creator they badly need).
6. Alex Mallari, Barangay Ginebra Kings
Mallari provides Coach Siot Tanquincen a lanky point-forward who knows his game well, is fearless enough to mow through multiple defenders and has that swag that Ginebra fans should love, things you don't really get nowadays from sixth picks overall.
He will fit in nicely into the Kings' backcourt of Fil-Ams in Mark Caguioa, Mike Cortez and JJ Helterbrand. Mallari gives Tanquincen versatility (the guy can play the one to three spots) to tinker with different lineups and give opposing teams various looks.
Looking taller than his almost six-foot-three official measurement, Mallari is a very good pickup for Ginebra at this point.
Other possible picks: Chris Tiu (for fan overload). Keith Jensen (a bit too early here but it's hard to gamble on passing up on Mallari).
7. Vic Manuel, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Remember 2010, when the Pharex B Complex Fighting Maroons marched to the finals of the PBL? Though it was branded as a renaissance of sorts for UP, the team's successful campaign was made possible by one player: Vic Manuel.
After that tournament, the Maroons stumbled to a 0-14 season (and a 2-32 record since) in the UAAP while Manuel, who was named Best Player of the Conference in the PBL, won the D-League MVP award a couple of years after.
The six-foot-three Manuel can bang bodies with anyone, sprint past defenders if he wants and score at will for a Rain or Shine crew that is still in cloud nine after a successful Governors Cup championship chase.
Manuel is ready to step in from Day One and will be an important contributor (or a valuable trade chip) for the Elasto Painters, who are raring to prove that their first-ever title was no fluke.
Other possible picks: None. Manuel is a very good pick for Rain or Shine, unless they trade this selection, as rumors say.
8. Keith Jensen, Barangay Ginebra Kings
This draft abounds with athleticism and Jensen probably possesses one of the biggest supplies of them. He is a bruiser and a high-flyer in one, ready to shove for position or jump over a defender when duty calls.
And though he is still a bit raw, Jensen would benefit a lot from the tutelage of Rudy Hatfield and Eric Menk, both known super-forwards and Fil-Ams, as well.
The New York University alum will crash the boards with the best of them, score off dunks and inside shots and be the heir apparent to what could be the final tours of duty for Ginebra's front court, most of whom are already past their prime, not a bad deal for an eighth overall pick.
Other possible picks: Vic Manuel. He offers what Jensen can give.. and more.
9. Kelly Nabong, B-Meg Llamados
B-Meg needs size and Nabong has lots of them. At six-foot-six and 227 pounds, Nabong is one of the biggest prospects in this year's draft and would be a great pick for the Llamados, which will have Yancy de Ocampo or Rafi Reavis man the slot come the 38th season.
He might be a reach at ninth overall. However, Nabong, who normed 13.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.4 steals, brings not only height and heft to Tim Cone's squad, but a rebounding buddy for Marc Pingris, who's had to handle much of the board work for B-Meg last season.
Other possible picks: Aldrech Ramos, Yousef Taha
10. Aldrech Ramos, Global Port Batang Pier
Around eight months ago, Aldrech Ramos was touted as one of the top three picks of the 2012 PBA Draft. Who can argue with that after the wiry forward-center wrapped up a successful UAAP career that saw him win the Defensive Player of the Year award, three Mythical Team selections and a lead role in Far Eastern University's back-to-back bridesmaid campaigns?
But Ramos followed that up with a less-than-stellar stint at the ABL and with the arrival of Fil-Am standouts through the D-League, the the six-foot-five slipped in draft boards and might actually be the sleeper of this batch.
He is, likewise, a perfect complement to Global Port's lineup and would look good in a first five that also features JV Casio, scoring machine Gary David and former top overall pick Rabeh Al-Husseini.
Other possible picks: None. Global Port is reportedly so high on Ramos that they're willing to trade up just to secure his rights.
11. Jason Deutchman, Air 21
12. Yousef Taha, B-Meg
13. Mark Jeffries, B-Meg
14. Dave Marcelo, Global Port
15. Lester Alvarez, Barako Bull
16. Janus Lozada, Barako Bull
17. Raphy Reyes, Rain Or Shine
18. Woody Co, Barako Bull
19. JR Buensuceso Alaska
20. Gian Chiu, Talk N' Text
Tell us what you think on the comments section! - Rappler.com