We’re many months away from the next PBA Draft, but, let’s face it, there’s already some pre-draft buzz going around with names like Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, Arnold Van Opstal, Von Pessumal, and even Fil-Ams like Avery Scharer and Taylor Statham already being thrown in the mix.
It’ll be very interesting to see who among those prospects actually declare for the PBA Draft and who will sit it out first. Rumor has it that a couple of guys may not join the draft yet to focus on training with Gilas Pilipinas.
Given that context, I’ve come up with a very early 2016 PBA Mock Draft.
Before reading and critiquing, please take note of the following:
- I took into account the most recent transactions involving first round picks for next season.
- I based the order of the picks on how the teams finished in the 2015-2016 Philippine Cup. Things can still change drastically, of course, but I didn’t want to speculate too much, so I chose to work with what’s already there.
- I considered how the UAAP season will probably start again in September, which will prevent graduating players like Jeron Teng, CJ Perez, and Jett Manuel from applying for the draft. Over in the NCAA, however, guys like Jio Jalalon, Jamil Ortuoste (who was recently booted out of the San Sebastian squad), McJour Luib, Dan Sara, and Raphael Layug should be available.
- All the “needs” of each team are based on their current rosters and stats from the previous conference. These “needs” may still change as the season progresses, especially when future transactions are made.
Without further ado, let’s start:
1st pick: Meralco Bolts – Kiefer Ravena
Some people will harp on about Kiefer Ravena’s falling short of leading Ateneo to a UAAP title the past three seasons, but nobody can really say there’s any local player outside of the PBA who has as explosive a combination of confidence and talent. Despite his size, Ravena can still potentially play SG in the pros, hopefully learning from Gary David and eventually becoming a cornerstone for Meralco’s future.
2nd pick: Mahindra Enforcers – Bobby Ray Parks
If Parks decides to return to the Philippines, he will be in the thick of the top pick conversation along with Kiefer, but I think the latter’s ties with the MVP group will eventually lead to BRP’s falling to #2. That’s not entirely a bad thing, as Parks can be the face of the Mahindra Enforcers. Given his talent, Parks should almost immediately be the best player on this team, and that can either change Mahindra’s fortunes or, at the very least, give them a very promising trading chip.
3rd pick: Blackwater Elite – Kevin Ferrer
The Elite need someone who can be a really solid option at the wings aside from Carlo Lastimosa, and Ferrer can be that person. Given his size and skill-set, the former King Tiger should be able to contribute immediately for Blackwater and help shore up their perimeter depth. Ferrer’s length, athleticism, and three-point shooting should prove to be a threatening combo when paired with Lastimosa’s explosiveness and the improvement of big man JP Erram.
4th pick: Phoenix Fuel Masters (via GlobalPort and Star) – Arnold Van Opstal
Speaking of big men, Phoenix needs one badly, and former Green Archer Arnold Van Opstal could be the best choice in this draft. Unlike the class of 2015, this class isn’t so top-heavy, but at 6-foot-9 and gifted with great agility, AVO has the building blocks of a potentially solid contributor. At worst, he may end up as a Rafi Reavis-type of player, but, at best, well, he could be the Fuel Masters’ version of Raymond Almazan.
5th pick: Bgy. Ginebra Gin Kings (via Phoenix) – Mac Belo
With the Chris Ellis thing still not panning out for Ginebra (why is he still on this team again?), getting someone like Mac Belo should give them an additional enticing option at the 3. Belo was PBA-ready as early as Season 77, but he just raised his stock even more by helping the Tamaraws bag the title in Season 78. Belo isn’t the tallest guy here, but his skill-set is one to behold, and he’s not the type who will shy away from big moments. With him and Scottie Thompson, Ginebra may have a pair of real gems in their hands.
6th pick: San Miguel Beermen (via NLEX) – Avery Scharer
The former Westports Malaysia Dragon should be an interesting addition for a team that doesn’t seem to need anything. I mean, the Beermen are the only professional basketball team to ever complete a comeback from 0-3 down in a 7-game series. What else would they need, right? Well, as solid as they are, the Beermen aren’t getting any younger, and getting Scharer may mean having someone who can inherit Ronald Tubid’s role at the wings. Also, Scharer + Lassiter could be lethal.
7th pick: NLEX Road Warriors (via Talk N Text) – Taylor Statham
The Fil-American remains a bit of a mystery for a lot of people, but a team like NLEX will definitely benefit from the California native’s size and perceived versatility. If Statham proves to be a solid two-way player, he could be this team’s new starting PF or maybe even be the primary back-up to someone like Sean Anthony. As long as we haven’t really seen him up close and personal in the D-League for an extended period of time, though, this is a risk for the Road Warriors.
8th pick: Bgy. Ginebra Gin Kings – RR Pogoy
Belo will bring the muscle at the 3 spot for Ginebra, while Pogoy should bring the shooting. Pogoy can light it up from deep in a snap, and that is something the Gin Kings sorely need. As long as he is in fine shape and form, the FEU product should be able to contribute almost right away for the league’s most popular team.
9th pick: Star Hotshots (via GlobalPort) – Ed Daquioag
Opponents may see double when Daquioag pairs with Mark Barroca for Star. Both are aggressive and feisty slashers who are tenacious on both ends of the floor. With James Yap continuing to age and PJ Simon also contemplating retirement, having someone like Daquioag should fill in the void somewhat for coach Jason Webb.
10th pick: Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters – Von Pessumal
One team can never really have enough shooters, and having Pessumal maybe be a back-up for Jeff Chan is a promising prospect for coach Yeng Guiao. Coach Yeng likes no-non-sense players who follow instructions well, and Von fills that to a T. If the Atenean can further sharpen his perimeter game (with the help of Jeff Chan and Chris Tiu), he should have a long and fruitful career in the pros.
11th pick: Alaska Aces – Jio Jalalon
The PG spot has been equal parts solid and shaky for the Alaska Aces. Veteran JV Casio hasn’t been consistently stellar, while guys like Ping Exciminiano and RJ Jazul aren’t really built to be playmakers (Ping is a stopper, while Jazul is a true shooting guard in a PG’s body). Enter Jalalon, who can bring in a lot of talent and energy for a team that, at some points, seemed all but ready to throw in the towel in their tragic Finals meltdown against SMB.
12th pick: Phoenix Fuel Masters (via San Miguel Beer) – Mike Tolomia
Yes, RR Garcia just tore it up for Phoenix, but the former UAAP MVP needs a capable running-mate. That should be Tolomia, who certainly has more upside than any of the other guards in the Fuel Masters’ stable. Tolomia can punch it down the gut of the defense or spread the floor with his streaky sniping. He’s the kind of guy who, once he masters the learning curve, can potentially be a top-tier perimeter player in the pros. At the 12th pick? That’s a steal if I ever saw one.
13th pick: Hapee Fresh Fighters – Gelo Alolino
The NU playmaker will fall late in the first round or early second round due mainly to the already very deep pool of talent at the PG spot in the PBA. His best chance, then, is to be picked by prospective expansion team Hapee and play well enough to be one of the Fresh Fighters’ main guns moving forward.
Here are other marquee names who are sleeper first round picks and probable second rounders:
Louie Vigil (will he or won’t he stay in UST?!)
Dan Sara — By Enzo Flojo