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MANILA, Philippines – A total of 85 aspirants are looking for a shot at the big league, but only a handful will be chosen to play in the pro ranks.
With just a few days away from the annual Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft on Sunday, November 3 at Robinsons Place Manila, these young gentlemen are giving their best to get an elusive slot at playing in the PBA.
Rappler gives you this mock draft to have an idea how the actual draft might look like.
Who’s hot and who’s not? Scroll down to find out.
No. 1: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel
Needs: Big man
Pick: Greg Slaughter
Slaughter is almost 7 feet and tips the scales at 258 lbs. He has played against tough centers from all over the world when he suited up for Gilas Pilipinas. He also has prior PBA experience when Smart Gilas guested in the 2011 PBA Commissioner’s Cup. Slaughter will be someone hard to pass on if you’re Ginebra.
Ginebra’s backcourt is pretty stocked, but their interior needs some serious makeover. Having Slaughter team up with fellow Gilas standout Japeth Aguilar will form a towering duo for the crowd favorites.
Besides, if you want any indication that Slaughter will play for the crowd favorites, just look at Ginebra star Mark Caguioa’s picture on Twitter showing the draft prospect practicing with them.
No. 2: San Mig Coffee Mixers
Needs: Dominant big man with offensive game
Pick: Ian Sangalang
Yancy De Ocampo and Rafi Reavis are listed 6’9” and 6’8” respectively, but both are at the twilight of their careers and lack a consistent offensive game. 6’7″ Joe Devance meanwhile is more of a perimeter player, which leaves Coach Tim Cone with Marc Pingris as his main man in the paint.
Adding NCAA MVP Ian Sangalang to the picture will boost the Mixers’ frontline. The 6’6” Pampanga native can deliver points inside, and he also has decent touch from midrange. He will also bring toughness to the reigning Governor’s Cup champions – something they’ve been missing since the departure of Kerby Raymundo years ago.
No. 3: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Needs: All-around point guard/Size
Pick: Raymond Almazan
The Elasto Painters already have bullstrong players in Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, and Jervy Cruz for their frontline, but all three are slightly undersized to play the center position, which leads to picking the lanky 6’7” Raymond Almazan. Almazan is making a big impact as Letran’s premier center, averaging double-double numbers.
Having Almazan in the lineup should let Coach Yeng Guiao slide Belga to the 4 spot, giving the fiery tactician a versatile frontcourt. Almazan’s length, defense and rebounding should give Rain or Shine’s frontcourt a much-needed boost.
Nos. 4 to 6: Barako Bull Energy Cola
Needs: Firepower/Frontcourt guys
Picks: Terrence Romeo, Jeric Teng, RR Garcia
Having the middle picks of the first round gives the Barako Bull squad plenty of options to choose from. Their primary concern is to add youth to their aging group, and infuse firepower to the line-up. This is the best chance to do all of that.
Terrence Romeo, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable player, is one guy who can definitely do damage on the offensive end. He led the UAAP in points averaging 22.2 per contest.
Jeric Teng is another effective shooting guard who can perform during clutch situations. He was unstoppable in game 2 of UAAP Finals against La Salle, firing 28 points to lead all-scorers.
RR Garcia is a solid point guard who can facilitate well and give leadership to the group.
Should the Energy Cola select these 3 backcourt protagonists, they will have to clear some space because their roster will be a bit stacked. Shawn Weinstein, Celino Cruz, Chris Pacana, Emman Monfort and Jonas Villanueva are just some of their current guards.
The best option is to deal some of them to solve another Barako Bull waterloo: big men. Moving some of them for a power forward or center will help the Energy Cola. It’s hard to let this opportunity pass, but in a few years, they might just end up with the best backcourt in the PBA.
But a report on interAKTV said Barako Bull agreed in principle to a trade that involved GlobalPort and Petron. In the trade, GlobalPort will get Barako Bull’s 6th pick after sending Chris Ross to Barako who will in turn send Ross to Petron in exchange for defensive-minded point guard Denok Miranda.
No. 7: GlobalPort Batang Pier
Pick: Carlo Lastimosa
After dealing Gary David to the Meralco Bolts 3 weeks ago, the Batang Pier will have to look for another scoring weapon. Sol Mercado will likely slide to the shooting guard spot while Chris Ross will be the court general.
Carlo Lastimosa has always been an offensive machine, single-handedly carrying St. Benilde in the NCAA years ago. At 6-feet, Lastimosa’s size is also perfect for a shooting guard. He just needs to work on other aspects of his game like ball handling and defense; if he does that, he will be a good compliment to Mercado and can eventually be one of GlobalPort’s main weapons on offense.
No. 8: Alaska Aces
Pick: Nico Salva
Let’s face it: Tony Dela Cruz, one of the Aces’ long-time small forwards, is not getting any younger. Five-time UAAP champion Nico Salva is an athletic forward with enough speed to be a wingman and enough power to be a power forward in a small line-up. He’s a great candidate to be Dela Cruz’s replacement.
No. 9: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Needs: Tall wing man/All-around point guard
Pick: James Forrester
If you will look at Rain or Shine’s lineup, they have a pretty loaded backcourt but outside of Gabe Norwood, their wing guys are a bit undersized. Ryan Araña and Jireh Ibanes usually play the two and three spots for the Painters.
James Forrester, a dynamic, all-around swing man can fill that gap for Coach Yeng Guiao. The Arellano Chief is listed at 6’2” although his frame looks much bigger; he brings so much energy, hustle, and athleticism whenever he’s on the court.
No. 10: San Mig Coffee Mixers
Needs: Wing man/Small forward
Pick: Alex Nuyles
Nuyles suffered a shoulder injury that ended his UAAP career. However, he has returned to action and seeks a revitalized career in the PBA. The former Adamson Falcon will be a great addition to the Mixers.
Nuyles is a good defender and an all-around swing man. He can pose match-up problems at the two or three spot with his speed and athleticism. He can either attack the basket or shoot from beyond the arc. The Fil-Canadian cager might get some playing time with SanMig Coffee as athletic scorer Allein Maliksi recovers from his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
No. 11: GlobalPort Batang Pier
Needs: Big man
Pick: Isaac Holstein
Back when they were still known as the Powerade Tigers, GlobalPort played with an undersized unit. Holstein, Chot Reyes’ recruit for Gilas Pilipinas, stands 6’9” and carries a decent touch from the outside. He is also a good shot blocker.
Some say he’s the younger Sonny Thoss. If the Batang Pier can develop his inside game, then he can be a capable inside force alongside sophomore center Yousif Taha.
No. 12: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Needs: All-around point guard
Pick: Jeric Fortuna
Only TY Tang and Gabe Norwood (who played point guard in college) are Rain or Shine’s point guards. Chris Tiu and Paul Lee are more of combo guards. Adding Jeric Fortuna, one of UST’s reliable court generals back in college, will add depth to the point guard spot and let Norwood concentrate on playing off the ball. His ABL and D-League experience will also be a factor when it comes to leading the squad, and what he lacks in size (5’7”), he has to make up for with speed and
No. 13: San Mig Coffee Mixers
Needs: Back-up power forward
Pick: Eric Camson
Marc Pingris is an absolute workhorse underneath the basket for the Mixers. Having someone to give him enough rest on the bench will be a huge plus for SMC.
Eric Camson is an equally hardworking forward, and he’s got a great touch from the outside. Among the things he can give to San Mig are his offense, speed, and rebounding.
No. 14: Barako Bull Energy Cola
Needs: Younger frontcourt player
Pick: JP Erram
Mick Pennisi, Dorian Pena, and Danny Seigle are all nearing the end of their careers. JP Erram was often overshadowed by Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Greg Slaughter during his collegiate stint, but he performs efficiently. He thrives by doing the dirty work. Hustling for the leather, defending the post, and swatting shots were some of his vital contributions to the Ateneo crew.
No. 15: Air 21 Express
Needs: All-around point guard
Pick: Justin Melton
The Express is another team in need of a tall guy. Paul Sanga and Robby Celiz are respectable options. However, passing on Justin Melton if he’s available at this spot could be a terrible mistake.
The former Gilas Pilipinas member wowed everyone in the PBA Rookie Camp with his insane vertical leap. He can give additional hustle and firepower to the squad.
No. 16: Alaska Aces
Needs: Shooter/Wing man
Pick: Jett Vidal
Dondon Hontiveros is another guy who could be hanging his jersey in a few years. That leaves Cyrus Baguio as the only shooting guard for Alaska. Add Jett Vidal to that roster and the Aces will be a great shooting team. Vidal has always been a scorer dating back to his days with Perpetual Help. He can torch opponents from downtown on any given night. If coach Luigi Trillo ever needs some instant production off the bench, Vidal is someone who can step up and deliver.
No. 17: Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters
Pick: Justin Chua
The former Ateneo Blue Eagle served as a back-up center for Greg Slaughter under coach Norman Black, who is now the Tropang Texters’ head coach. Chua transformed into a starter in the PBA D-League where he led Blackwater Sports to a title, averaging decent numbers in the season.
Ali Peek will be retiring in a few years, and the wide-bodied Chua can fill the spot Peek will vacate. At 6’4”, Chua has an effective mid-range game and is a solid defender at the post. Since he’s already familiar with Black’s system, reuniting him with his college mentor should be a good move.
No. 18: Alaska Aces
Needs: Backcourt defender
Pick: Chris Exciminiano
Chris Exciminiano, though a scorer, turned into a defensive-oriented player with the Tamaraws playing alongside more celebrated gunners RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo. He lived up to that expectation. His offensive skills surfaced once again when he starred for Cagayan in the PBA D-League. He led the Rising Suns to a runner-up finish. His 2-way game makes him a complete package once he joins the Aces.
No. 19: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Needs: Role player
Pick: JR Cawaling
For their final pick in the first two rounds, the Elasto Painters could select a role player to give them a secure future. JR Cawaling suited up for reigning ABL champions San Miguel Beermen and logged 4.4 points a game. He also shot a decent 39% from beyond the arc. For now, he may not be a regular part of the rotation, but he will surely get quality minutes sooner than later.
No. 20: Barako Bull Energy Cola
Pick: Ryan Buenafe
Buenafe is a unique piece to add to any roster. He will not only add size to Barako Bull’s wings, but he can also do an assortment of things. He can score from anywhere on the court and his bulk should help his defensive game.
He would be a great option at the small forward position with his ability to run up and down the floor and sometimes even facilitate the offense.
Don’t agree with our picks? Check out the list of draft applicants below and share with us your own mock draft on the comments section.