D-Day in December
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 16, 2018 - 12:00am

It’s unusual for the PBA to hold the annual draft in December but because of circumstances involving the national team, the league is making a rare exception this year. The PBA had to push its schedule forward to accommodate the qualifying windows for the FIBA World Cup and this afternoon, the draft will take place at the Robinsons Place Manila. It’s also unusual that the draft will go on even as the season hasn’t ended. Game 6 of the Governors Cup Finals is scheduled at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Wednesday and if there’s a Game 7, it’ll be on Friday.

There are 47 hopefuls in this year’s sweepstakes. The cast would’ve been 48 but UE center R. R. de Leon, listed 6-6, failed to show up for the combine last week. Letran is the topnotcher in the draft with five former Knights in the pool, namely, J. P. Calvo, Bong Quinto, Jeremiah Taladua, Ivan Villanueva and Chris de la Pena. UE is next with four entries – Paul Varilla, Dan Alberto, Clark Derige and Steven Cudal. Lyceum, Ateneo, UP and Adamson are bringing out three apiece.

No pure-blooded Filipino has been selected first overall in the draft since JuneMar Fajardo in 2012. The previous four first overall choices were Christian Standhardinger, Mo Tautuaa, Stanley Pringle and Greg Slaughter. No first overall pick was named in the 2016 draft which featured a special lottery for Gilas players. Since the draft was institutionalized in 1985, there have been 22 local-born Filipinos and 9 Fil-foreigners chosen first overall. 

The first 12 first overall picks were native-born Filipinos, namely, Sonny Cabatu, Rey Cuenco, Allan Caidic, Jack Tanuan, Benjie Paras, Peter Jao, Alex Araneta, Vergel Meneses, Jun Limpot, Noli Locsin, Dennis Espino and Marlou Aquino. The streak was broken by Fil-Am Andy Seigle in 1997.

This year, the consensus first overall pick is C. J. Perez, born in Hong Kong to a Filipina OFW and raised in Bautista, Pangasinan. He was brought to Manila by the Estrella family to join the La Salle varsity but after staying three months with the Archers, decided to transfer to San Sebastian. Perez later moved to Ateneo before finally winding up with coach Topex Robinson at Lyceum. A game-changer in the mold of Calvin Abueva, the 25-year-old plays multiple positions and would be a prized catch for any team. 

The second overall pick could be either RayRay Parks of NU or Robert Bolick of San Beda. They’re both half-American, half-Filipino born here. Parks, 25, is a two-time UAAP MVP, a three-time SEA Games gold medalist with the national squad and a veteran of the 2017-18 ABL champion San Miguel Alab team. Bolick, 23, started out at La Salle like Perez then finished his collegiate career at San Beda. He was on La Salle’s UAAP title team in 2013 and on three San Beda NCAA championship squads. 

Other likely first round picks are Abu Tratter of La Salle, Javee Mocon of San Beda, JJay Alejandro of NU, Paul Desiderio of UP, Kris Porter of Ateneo, Michael Calisaan of San Sebastian, Matt Salem of NU, Trevis Jackson of Sacramento State and Quinto of Letran.

In nine scrimmages during the recent combine, Calvo had the highest output with 23 points followed by Toronto-born Carlos Isit’s 22, Mocon’s 21, Perez’ 20 and Kyles Lao’s 20. A point below the 20-point level were Bolick, Jorey Napoles and Calisaan with 19 apiece.

Of the 47 hopefuls, 25 are over six feet and four over 6-4, namely, the 6-5 1/8 Tratter, 6-4 1/2 Porter, 6-4 1/2 Jeepy Faundo of UST and 6-4 1/4 Jeffrey Ongteco of St. Benilde. The shortest player is 5-6 1/4 Ryan Monteclaro of Adamson. The heaviest is the 255-pound Cudal and the lightest is the 145.8-pound Calvo. Of the 47, 13 weigh over 200 pounds. The oldest is University of the Visayas’ Emmanuel Calo who’s 29 and the youngest is Calvo who’s 21. There are three others who are 21 – Desiderio, Diego Dario of UP and Antonio Coronel of Perpetual – but Calvo is a few months younger than the others.

Every aspirant listed his height at higher than what was officially measured by the PBA except for four. Teytey Teodoro of Jose Rizal listed his height at 5-8 but came in at 5-8 1/2. Harold Ng of Adamson listed his height at 5-10 but came in at 5-10 1/4. Two players were right on the button as Isit didn’t measure more or less at 5-8 and Cyrus Tabi of Rizal Technological was the same at 5-8. The biggest drops were registered by Robbie Manalang of Adamson who went from 5-10 to 5-7 1/4, Faundo from 6-6 to 6-4 1/2, Desiderio from 6-0 to 5-10 3/4 and Ron Dennison of FEU from 6-1 to 5-11 1/4.

In the skills results, Isit topped the reaction test and lane agility. The Mapua guard is one of seven foreign-born players in the list. The others are Jackson, Perez, Salem, John Ragasa, Varilla and Manalang.

After trades, the draft order in the first round is as follows: Columbian, Blackwater, NorthPort, NLEX (from Phoenix), Meralco, Rain Or Shine (from TNT), NLEX, Rain Or Shine, Alaska, Magnolia, Columbian (from San Miguel Beer) and Phoenix (from Ginebra). The order in the second round is as follows: Rain Or Shine (from Mahindra, now Columbian), Meralco (from Blackwater), Magnolia (from NorthPort), NLEX (from Phoenix), Alaska (from Phoenix, Barako, GlobalPort and Meralco), Columbian (from Phoenix, NLEX and TNT), Rain Or Shine (from NLEX), Rain Or Shine, Alaska, Magnolia, Phoenix (from GlobalPort, Barako and San Miguel Beer) and Phoenix (from Ginebra). Unless there are trades consummated and approved by the PBA, San Miguel and Ginebra will not choose in the first two rounds. Columbian, NLEX and Rain Or Shine own two first round picks. Rain Or Shine has five choices in the first two rounds.

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