The 2019 PBA Draft class
Photo from PBA's Twitter (@pbaconnect)
2019 PBA Draft: Winners, sleepers, questions
Rick Olivares ( - December 9, 2019 - 2:01pm

MANILA, Philippines – Another cast of hopefuls has come and gone. And truthfully, there aren’t enough teams in the PBA. The talent pool is just too much. I’d say it is just right to have an 18-team league. But that is for an article for another day. 

In the meantime, here is how we look at the just-concluded PBA Draft:

The Big winners are… Columbian Dyip and Ateneo de Manila

Columbian Dyip added two quality players in Isaac Go and Roosevelt Adams to an exciting roster that just needs to mature.The excitement levels just went off the charts when you think of how CJ Perez will team up with Adams. Go, on the other hand, provides smarts, shooting and rebounding. They already have some keepers in Rashawn McCarthy and Jackson Corpuz. All this team needs now is to mature.

All six Blue Eagles in the draft pool were selected by a team — Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Adrian Wong, Aaron Black and Vince Tolentino. Had Thirdy Ravena been available, that would have been seven. 

They are the most successful college program since 1999. Since that time, they have sent more than 50 players to the pros. Only one was not drafted since 1999. 

Big picks up, but how do they fit in? 

Barangay Ginebra selected Arvin Tolentino and Jerrick Balanza in the first and second rounds, respectively. They have a stacked and loaded lineup. How the two fit in remains to be seen. Unfortunately, both need the ball to be effective. 

Tolentino is in the same mold as former Ginebra player Kevin Ferrer. If they couldn’t fit Ferrer — who is a better defender than Tolentino — I don’t know how this former FEU Tam will manage.

Balanza, for his part, is such an incredible story after his comeback from a near-career-ending illness.  He can be like CJ Perez — someone who can create and wreak Havoc with his athleticism. 

These newbies will be good

Sean Manganti (NorthPort) and Aris Dionisio (Magnolia) will be better than advertised. Manganti will be like the second coming of Arwind Santos — a tall and talented athletic player who can create his own shot and for others, post up and defend. He has thrived in an offense where other players were the first or second options. 

Dionisio will be the linchpin of Magnolia’s defense and become a huge part of their offense. This kid is a winner. He has won everywhere he has played. I am surprised he fell this far. But that is Magnolia’s gain.

I like Alaska’s selection of Lyceum’s Jaycee Marcelino. They have a player who is like Jason Castro — fast and pesky. I just wonder if their system is a right fit for him.

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