It’s always hard to judge a team’s draft in its immediate wake, but it’s a task even more difficult this time around, thanks to the PBA weirdly banning trades during the 2015 rookie selection. As such, think of these as off-the-cuff impressions, knowing that the odds are good that by 12 noon tomorrow, more than a handful of players are probably gonna be changing team unis.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Picks: Maverick Ahanmisi (R1P3), Josan Nimes (R1P12), Don Trollano (R2P3), Simon Enciso (R2P5)
I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but imagine RoS going from a bench of Jonathan Uyloan, TY Tang, Jireh Ibanes and Jeric Teng, to the above four players. Isn’t that a scary good upgrade? Ahanmisi projects to be a spectacular backcourt partner to Paul Lee, with Enciso as a more than capable back-up to either guy. Nimes and Trollano can both flat-out score, and they can do it from multiple positions to boot. RoS invested in versatility, and it’s hard to see how it can’t pay off. The Elasto Painters have the potential to be younger, faster, more athletic, a scary prospect for any opponent this upcoming season.
Picks: Kevin Racal (R1P11), Marion Magat (R2P6), Jaypee Mendoza (R2P9), Abel Galliguez (R2P11), Nico Elorde (R3P11), Robin Rono (R4P11)
There’s no way all of these guys are going to make the final roster, but the Aces knew what type of player they were looking for and went out and got people that fit the description. From start to finish, all six of their draftees have a rep as above-average defenders, at the very least, and all are unselfish as well, fitting the team’s “We not me” philosophy. Racal and Mendoza give them some two-way options on the wing, joining Rome Dela Rosa and Ping Exciminiano, while Magat keeps their ceiling high in case the team moves on from Sam Eman or Eric Menk. The real battle though will come from the three guards they drafted, Galliguez, Elorde and Rono. They each bring playmaking, perimeter D, and an ability to knock down open looks, and so deciding who, if any, stays, will be a tough but welcome problem for the coaching staff to solve.
Picks: Chris Newsome (R1P4), Baser Amer (R1P7), Joseph Sedurifa (R3P7)
From trotting out Pamboy Raymundo, Anjo Caram and Simon Atkins in the backcourt, Meralco goes to Chris Newsome and Baser Amer, in addition to swapping Mike Cortez for Jimmy Alapag a week or so prior. While those aforementioned Bolts had individual areas of competency, Newsome and Amer bring so much more to the table, and they’ll really help this squad get up and down the floor, to better take advantage of guys like Cliff Hodge, Sean Anthony, Rey Guevarra and Jared Dillinger. The only downside is they weren’t able to add any height. That means Coach Norman Black and company will really be rolling the dice that Rabeh Al-Hussaini will be able to flash his ADMU form after a year away from the PBA.
Honorable mention: All three SMC squads did well too. Ginebra addressed their lack of wings, Star had some nice pick-ups to add to their group, and you could do much worse for your end-of-the-bench guys, compared to San Miguel Beer’s new additions
Globalport Batang Pier
Picks: Roi Sumang (R3P4), Ryan Wetherell (R4P4), Pedrito Galanza (R5P4)
There’s obviously some value inherent in scooping up what is at the very least mid-first round talent in the third round, which is what this team did with Roi Sumang. The big problem though is fit. GlobalPort already has a dueling banjos-esque backcourt of 2014 first overall pick Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo, plus they gave up a future first rounder for Joseph Yeo, who has thrived in recent conferences as a tall point guard. How Sumang fits, and for that matter, how Wetherell also fits, is definitely a mystery, as there simply aren’t enough shots to go around (I didn’t even get to poor Nard Pinto on the bench either). Had any other team scooped up those two guys, it would have been a huge steal. GlobalPort though, is the one exception among the 12 teams.
Picks: Kris Rosales (R2P8), Michael Miranda (R2P10), Yutien Andrada (R3P5), John Ray Alabanza (R4P5)
Look, trying to figure out what the heck Barako Bull is trying to achieve is always going to be tough, and it’s not like they had high draft picks to work with, as they began with the 20th overall selection. But with that said, they picked Rosales, a point guard, to add to the mix with RR Garcia, Chico Lanete, Paolo Hubalde, and Brian Heruela, whom they traded for earlier in the offseason. Then with the other three picks, the team indulged its fetish for height, as Miranda, Andrada and Alabanza will have to carve out their own niche with 2014 picks Jake Pascual and Papot Paredes. Suffice to say, it’s hard to see them duplicating their hot Governors’ Cup start, in the upcoming All-Filipino Cup.
Picks: Art Dela Cruz (R1P9), Almond Vosotros (R2P1), Jason Melano (R3P1), Keith Agovida (R4P1), Jawhar Purdy (R5P1), Christian Palma (R6P1), Mon Abundo (R7P1), Randy Dilay (R8P1)
Blackwater was always going to be a disappointment, simply because of the fiasco that saw them wind up with the ninth overall pick instead of the first, but it’s really hard to see a semblance of a plan with their selections. The team is lucky to have Dela Cruz, as he could have gone as high as number three, but the Vosotros pick is odd considering how they traded away their best player last season, Brian Heruela, for Carlo Lastimosa, who comes from the same undersized scorer mold as Almond (though to be fair, the Sinag guard is a much better ball-handler). The team also added three more point guards for whatever reason, plus a couple of scoring wings, all of whom need the ball to be effective. Sure, if you squint you can sort of see a world where Dela Cruz, as point-forward, is sucking in the defense and then kicking the ball out to guys on the perimeter, but boy is the King Lion’s adjustment gonna be a steep one, especially with the sort of cast this team has to offer him.