The 2016 PBA Draft will go down on Sunday, October 30. A special Gilas draft, however, had taken place on October 27. It practically means that all 12 draftees from the national team were already selected and are now with their respective PBA teams.
So who picked who? All the details and the answers regarding the boardroom selection will be unveiled on the official draft day. In the meantime, we can effectively address our burning curiosity by taking a close look at the top PBA aspirants this year, the Gilas boys included.
Here’s our top 10 incoming PBA rookies:
Gelo Alolino, NU
Alolino will be a late pick. But once he gets regular minutes, the steady playmaker from NU will give his team quality minutes. A good ball-handler with a sound basketball mind, Alolino will do fine in the PBA if he accompanies his good traits with hard work and dedication.
Avery Scharer, ASEAN Basketball League
This dude is an athletic wing player. He’s made noise in the ABL. His hustle and tenacity may allow him to do the same in the PBA.
10) Russel Escoto, FEU/Gilas
Many pundits are high on this kid, mainly because of his height (6’ 6”) and his decent outside shot. We’re not jumping in on that bandwagon yet. He can be an effective rebounder in the PBA once he develops a sturdier frame, but there’s nothing spectacular about this young big man right now. What we like about him, though, is his sense of professionalism for his age. In the long run, he could turn out to be a reliable inside role player.
Best case PBA comparison: Aldrech Ramos
Worst case PBA comparison: Yutien Andrada
9) Von Pessumal, Ateneo/Gilas
Pessumal is a three-point specialist. And it’s a must for all basketball teams nowadays to have a sniper. A player like him can always find his niche in the league. But his success in the PBA will heavily depend on whether he’ll play for a coach that will give him the confidence to chuck the ball up with little to zero conscience.
Best case PBA comparison: Larry Fonacier
Worst case PBA comparison: Rhoel Gomez
8) Ed Daquioag, UST/Gilas
He’s got a matured physique. We’ve no doubt, that he can keep up with the best off-guards and swingmen in the PBA, especially on defense. More positives: he’s a good finisher at the rim and a top-level athlete. Now, the negative: a major chink in his armor is his reluctance to be the team’s first option. Such apprehensions have rendered him ineffective as seen in his final year with UST. Going to a team with a guiding veteran voice might be the best situation he could hope for in the next level.
Best case PBA comparison: Sean Anthony
Worst case PBA comparison: Will Antonio
7) Kevin Ferrer, UST/Gilas
This former Growling Tiger’s potential is sky high. He’s got the build (6’ 5”), he’s agile and he can light it up from deep. The only thing that’s stopping him from playing like a superstar night in and night out is his mental game. Once he finds his inner peace, he’ll be able to play as if no one’s watching him and that’s going to be dangerous.
Best case PBA comparison: Danny Siegle
Worst case PBA comparison: Lowell Briones
6) Mike Tolomia, FEU/Gilas
Mike is the best point guard in this draft class, we’re talking all draftees here and not just the Gilas boys. He has always been a scorer, but he’s also transformed himself into a magnificent passer and a better all-around player in the latter part of his amateur years. Another plus is he always play hard. We’ve yet to see him on court not going full throttle. With Tolomia’s balls to the wall approach, Ginebra's Scottie Thompson may have soon find a triple-double rival in the PBA.
Best case PBA comparison: Olsen Racela
Worst case PBA comparison: Denok Miranda
5) Jio Jalalon, Arellano/Gilas
Jalalon aka the Bus Driver may have a hard time overpowering the bigger guards in the PBA the way he he did in college. But we are rooting for him. We want to see him shake off his defenders in the pros too. Having enough strength at the point guard position will help Jalalon to dismantle the PBA defense, if given the opportunity to lead a team. It’s the sheer reason why he’s worth the risk of a high draft.
Best case PBA comparison: Sol Mercado
Worst case PBA comparison: Wynne Arboleda
4) Arnold Van Opstal, DLSU/Gilas
AVO is 6’9”. He’s 24 years old. He can run and jump. He’s got good balance. With these characteristics alone, he should be the first pick. Well, the big BUT in that assessment is he is still an unproven physical specimen. He has yet to show signs that he’s capable of producing June Mar-like numbers. In the future, though, he may give Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Japeth Aguilar a run for their money. That prospect is good enough to make him a team top 5 pick.
Best case PBA comparison: Asi Taulava
Worst case PBA comparison: Samigue Eman
3) Matthew Wright, Canada/Gilas
Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright is a rock-solid shooting guard. Whoever picked him will immediately benefit from his tremendous offensive prowess. Whether it’s shooting from the outside or driving to the hoop, it doesn’t matter, this former ASEAB Basketball League MVP can get buckets. We’re sure he can take his scoring ways to the PBA.
Best case PBA comparison: Vince Hizon
Worst case PBA comparison: John Arigo
2) RR Pogoy, FEU/Gilas
This kid is an offensive weapon. He’s got all the scoring moves in his arsenal. His defense is also top-notch. We’ve got nothing bad to say about Pogoy’s skillset. We think, he’ll shine in the PBA brighter than he ever did in all of his pre-professional basketball life. Give RR a coach who’ll fully trust him and he’ll be on his way to stardom.
Best case PBA comparison: Peter Jun Simon
Worst case PBA comparison: Jeff Chan
1) Mac Belo, FEU/Gilas
Mac Belo is the ultimate end-to-end guy. He is a do-it-all forward who gives you rebounds, points and makes the necessary plays to get his team the W. He is the safest pick in the 2016 batch of PBA aspirants. No one is physically and mentally ready to play in the league more than him.
Best case PBA comparison: Sonny Alvarado
Worst case PBA comparison: a deported Sonny Alvarado