This Sunday, August 19, the PBA will have its 28th annual rookie draft featuring some of the best amateur talents that are ripe for the picking. Almost 70 applicants decided to join, all wanting to strut their mad b-ball skills for a chance to make it big in Asia's first play-for-pay league. The current crop is certainly brimming with talent and might feature the next superstars of the PBA, the heirs to the likes of Asi Taulava, James Yap, Gary David, and Mark Caquioa.
It's a talented pool and, as always, some aspirants deserve more than a second look - either because they're just damn too athletic (Calvin Abueva) or too popular (Chris Tiu). Hence, this mock draft of ours: unscientific, possibly totally useless for PBA teams, but guaranteed to provide you a different perspective on who each team should choose. See our pambatos for the draft's first round below.
UPDATE: It looks like Ronald Pascual will not be joining this year's draft, a potential blow to the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, who we expected to select the talented San Sebastian guard.
10. Aldrech Ramos
Team: Powerade Tigers/GlobalPort
Vitals: 6'6", 198lbs
Claim to fame: One of the main men of the FEU Tamaraws in past UAAP seasons, also was part of the Smart Gilas pool and the Philippine Patriots in the ABL
What people are saying: Could be a mobile big man with a good outside shot and decent rebounding and shotblocking skills
What we say: For a guy almost two meters tall, Ramos weighs barely 200 pounds. His long arms reminds of Arwind Santos, and this early we're nominating "Lastikman" as his future moniker. But he should probably bulk up if he wants to last more than a season in the PBA, and he better that do that before Asi Taulava and Rain or Shine's Extra Rice Brothers says hello.
9. Vic Manuel
Team: B-Meg Llamados/San Mig Coffee
Vitals: 6'4", 200lbs
Claim to fame: Recent MVP and man among boys in the PBA D-League
What people are saying: A hardworking forward that has the built and strength to hang with the big boys in the PBA.
What we say: Could be a younger (but not necessarily younger-looking) version of Marc "Pinoy Sakuragi" Pingris with his physique and skill set, minus the tisoy look.
8. Keith Jensen
Team: Barangay Ginebra
Vitals: 6'5", 210lbs
Claim to fame: A Fil-am from New York University that impressed SEA Games Philippine team coach Norman Black.
What people are saying: Has pretty good size for the small forward position as well as some offensive and dribbling skills.
What we say: Could be a positive addition to the Barangay's aging frontcourt, especially if he learns a thing or two about gulang moves from oldies like Rudy Hatfield and Eric Menk.
7. Ronald Pascual
Team: Rain or Shine Elastopainters
Vitals: 6'3.5", 196lbs
Claim to fame: Shooting those back-breaking jumpshots and posterizing other players.
What people are saying: This former San Sebastian Stag has one of the best offensive games in the draft.
What we say: We're excited about this guy! We could be looking at a bigger version of Jeff Chan with mad hops!
UPDATE: It looks like Ronald Pascual will not be joining the draft, a potential blow to the Rain or Shine Elastopainters. Let's see who'll take his place.
6. Alex Mallari
Team: Barangay Ginebra
Vitals: 6'4", 180lbs
Claim to fame: The dude with that hairdo that reminds us of John Rambo's messy crown. Oh, he has also been one of the stars of the PBA D-League for the past two years.
What people are saying: A fearless attacker who would go after the rim like a dog after the newspaper boy. Also has a unique combination of speed, size, and ball-handling skills.
What we say: An intriguing prospect since he's a point-forward. With Jayjay Helterbrand a bit past his prime, Mallari might be able to inject more swag to Ginebra's aging backcourt. Failing to do so though can make him a prime target for "Ilabas niyo na yan!" chants from Ginebra's fans. No pressure, Alex.
NEXT: Our top 5