2015 PBA Draft Preview: Alaska, Barako, and GlobalPort hoping to add firepower

In the third of a four-part series on team needs ahead of the 2015 PBA Draft, we shine the spotlight on the recent two-time PBA finalists Alaska Aces. The Aces were beaten twice by the reigning champions San Miguel Beermen and they hope to add more weapons to their line-up for next season. We also take a look at the different options the Barako Bull Energy and GlobalPort Batang Pier have in the upcoming draft to boost their rosters.

Alaska Aces
– Finals finish in the PHL Cup
– Quarterfinals finish in the Comm Cup
– Finals finish in the Gov Cup

The Alaska Aces remain a legitimate contender in the next PBA season even if they don’t have high picks in the draft. Their core remains solid and the squad has a ruthless playing style that can beat any team. However, their biggest concern right now is how they will match-up against the big men of the league. Ginebra will always have Greg Slaughter and SMB’s June Mar Fajardo has repeatedly posed a problem for the Aces. With Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario now entering the league, the Aces will have to be ready.

Last season, the Aces were actually one or two players away from possibly winning a title. They came up a bit short of their goal last season because they couldn’t match the overall talent of SMB. With a first rounder and a couple of second round picks, they can surely come out of this draft better.

Needs: Youth at the center and small forward position
Picks: R1P11, R2P6, R2P9, R2P11
Options: Despite having a reliable veteran core, the Alaska Aces are slowly showing their age. Their weaknesses were exposed by San Miguel. Sonny Thoss did a fantastic job of defending Fajardo in the Finals but you can’t ask Eric Menk or Sam Eman to slow down The Kraken. With the 11th pick, they can look for Bradwyn Guinto if he’s still available.

The Aces might have trouble getting an immediate-impact sort of first rounder, but given that they have three picks in the second round, they might steal a few solid picks. Dondon Hontiveros and Cyrus Baguio aren’t getting any younger so they might want to go with Glenn Khobuntin, Josan Nimes, Aljon Mariano, or even Michole Sorela for more depth at the wings. It’s not likely that all these players will still be available late in the second round, but hopefully the Aces can snatch at least one or two of them. Another good player they can pick up is Michael Miranda to add height and strength to battle against other PBA big men.

PBA - Ginebra vs Barako Bull - November 12 2014 - 4

Barako Bull Energy
– Quarterfinals finish in the PHL Cup
– Quarterfinals finish in the Comm Cup
– Quarterfinals finish in the Gov Cup

Barako Bull Energy managed to get into the postseason in all three conferences last season despite having so-so records during the eliminations. They’re strong at the guards position and the emergence of JC Intal as a superstar has helped significantly, especially in the Governor’s Cup. What they need are defensive big men who can focus solely on protecting the rim and getting rebounds. They already have enough scorers in Intal, RR Garcia, Nico Salva, and the like.

Picks: R2P8, R2P10
Needs: Upgrades at the center and power forward position
Options: Getting quality players late in the second round will be a challenge, but not an impossible task, for Barako. This year’s draft is pretty deep with a lot of potential sleepers. Barako is picking the eight and tenth spot in the second round and hopefully they can still get someone like Michael Miranda or Michole Sorela as big men. Barako is competing primarily with Rain or Shine and Alaska in the second round who both have three picks each. If Barako is just looking for height and help defense, they can even opt for Yutien Andrada who is 6’5”.

PBA - San Miguel Beer vs GlobalPort - March 24, 2015 - 5

GlobalPort Batang Pier
– Quarterfinals finish in the PHL Cup
– Missed the postseason in the Comm Cup
– Quarterfinals finish in the Gov Cup

GlobalPort is flashy and entertaining now that Terrence Romeo is growing into a bonafide superstar. The team has shown that it can be competitive at times and hopefully next season that means we’ll see a more mature and focused Batang Pier.

In a recent trade for big man Jervy Cruz, the Batang Pier used up their second rounder, and they don’t have a pick in their first due to a previous transaction. That means if GlobalPort does make a pick, it’ll be in the third round. And who knows, they might even opt to skip making a pick, as they have former NCAA standouts Nard Pinto and Prince Caperal in their line-up, who could stand to improve with more playing time.

Picks:
Needs: Length and versatility at the wings
Options: Given that GP will start picking in the third round, they’ll be in a “beggars can’t be choosers” position, and might be content to snap up the best player available. That said, since this is GlobalPort, which loves to play a three-guard line-up, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick someone like Mon Abundo, Alex Almario, Mark Cruz or Robin Rono. If Coach Pido Jarencio wants to go with the UST connection though, reserve big man Robert Hainga could be in the mix.