Do you draft a player because he is the best player available or do you get the player that you need to fill a certain position? Furthermore, do you draft on potential?
There are different answers to that. It depends on the situation.
For this year’s Gatorade PBA Draft, even with the addition of two more clubs, finding spots on the clubs is still a challenge as league is literally dripping with talent. The challenge for the players is finding playing time and for coaches to give them that trust and the ball.
Some of these players will be instant starters and contribute immediately. Others will have to find playing time in crowded rosters.
So we’ll just have to wait and find out how it all pans out.
1. GlobalPort Batang Pier selects Stanley Pringle
Weight: 83 kg.
Maximum vertical leap: 41.2 inches
Will foes learn to fear GlobalPort’s version of “The Beard”?
The Batang Pier will nab this high-leaping and athletic point guard out of Penn State who will form a nice rotation with Alex Cabagnot. Pringle, at 27 years of age, is not your typical rookie. He has loads of experience playing in Belgium, Poland, Ukraine, and Indonesia. Has excellent court vision. Can shoot from the outside too. And watch out for some of the fastbreaking slams.
2. Rain or Shine selects Matt Ganuelas-Rosser
Maximum Vertical Leap: 44 inches
Most will say this California State Polytechnic University alum could be the second coming of Gabe Norwood. Maybe. But Matt has a little more offense in him and can play up to four positions. Has very good quickness but if he can learn to drive from also the right side he’ll be even deadlier. Needs to bulk up for the PBA wars but that will come in time.
3. Barako Bull Energy selects Chris Banchero
Weight: 82.4 kg
Maximum Vertical Leap: 44.2 inches
The 25-year old Seattle native wowed the Gatorade Hoops Center crowd by topping all the sports tests in the two-day Gatorade PBA Draft Combine. Everyone knows he can shoot. But not how athletic and fast he can be.
Will form backcourt combo with Denok Miranda, Willie Miller and Jeric Fortuna. Gives this much-maligned club (for their constant trades) a face and a weapon.
Interesting to see how coach Siot Tanquincen works with this mix of guards.
4. NLEX Road Warriors select Kevin Alas
Weight: 84.1 kg
Maximum Vertical Leap: 33.2 inches
By selecting Alas, NLEX solidifies its point guard position. While playing for Letran, he was a high-scoring guard who also had excellent playmaking skills. It would be interesting to see how he works with a veteran team as he will defer to them. If Coach Boyet Fernandez can instill in him the confidence to play his usual game even as a rookie, then he’ll be one of the league’s best in no time. But Kevin will need to work on his outside shooting for consistency. Opposing teams won’t give him the lane to drive all the time.
He will be a part of the building blocks for this third franchise by the MVP Group.
5. Alaska Aces select Ronald Pascual
Weight: 87.5 kg
Maximum Vertical Leap: 33 inches
The heir to Dondon Hontiveros as this team’s shooter. Ronald can shoot, drive, and sky for that death-defying slam. And he can play defense too.
Terrific pick up for this club that needs to shore up its perimeter scoring to open up the lane for its bigs.
6. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel selects Anthony Semerad
Weight: 91.5 kg
Maximum Vertical Leap: 31.7 inches
Finally showing what he can really do when his career with the San Beda Red Lions was briefly cut for a year when he sought for more playing time elsewhere. Has the height, ruggedness (remember he used to play rugby back home in Australia), and heft to play the three spot. Can shoot, rebound, and play defense.
But the same was said about James Forrester who was buried on the deep end of the bench.
Let’s see if new coach Jeff Cariaso will finally play the younger players.
7. San Mig Super Coffee selects Rodney Brondial
Weight: 96.8 kg.
Maximum Vertical Leap: 30.8 inches
This former Adamson Falcon can post up and hit that medium range jumper. And in Coach Tim Cone’s system, that kind of game will help. Will just need to work on his passing which is something he isn’t known for. But this kid doesn’t need plays called for him. He is fine picking up the garbage where he can convert them into gold. And he’s a very good post defender as well.
8. Barako Bull Energy selects Philip Aaron Morrison
Weight: 77.5 kg.
Maximum Vertical Leap: 38 inches
Barako selecting two guards in the first round? I figure they’d want a taller player to shore up that frontline unless they get Brondial, getting Jake Pascual will be like replicating Dave Marcelo, Mark Isip and Willie Wilson.
Maybe they’d want to improve on their playmaking as Barako finished sixth in the league last season.
Morrison’s stock rose slightly by a terrific showing during the Gatorade PBA Draft Combine where he was sticking jumpshots even with a hand in his face.
While they will need that they will need Morrison to run this team’s offense.
9. Rain or Shine Elasto Painters selects Jake Pascual
Maximum Vertical Leap: 30.1 inches
Will fit right in this team. Jake is a rugged and physical player and perfect for Yeng Guiao’s squad. The minutes will allow him a chance to develop that confidence and grow. But Jake will need to work on that medium range jumper because he’ll be moving to the three-spot where he’ll be guarding the athletic sorts.
10. Barako Bull Energy selects Juneric Baloria
Weight: 72.1 kg.
Maximum Vertical Leap: 35.18 inches
This kid can score. Could be this draft’s version of Gary David; the player you didn’t really know about until he starting launching cruise missiles with regularity. A high-energy player who also likes to crash the boards. As a rookie that means he will be a little more selective in taking his shots unlike in Perpetual Help where he can be conscience-less in jacking up shots. But this is a player who can light it up – if given the right environment and exposure.
Finding minutes in this squad will be a challenge though unless the coaches decide to park some of the veterans.
11. KIA Motors selects Manny Pacquiao
Weight: 67 kgs.
Maximum Vertical Leap:
Will go down in PBA history as the first dual athlete, the oldest rookie pick, and literally, the first ever rookie-head coach.
It will be very interesting to see how: a) how he fares as playing-coach, b) what kind of squad he puts on the floor, and c) how the PBA veterans and fans respond to him on the PBA hardcourt.
12. Blackwater Sports selects Jericho Cruz
Weight: 86.8 kg.
Maximum Vertical Leap: 38.9 inches
Gives Blackwater a slasher and a scorer. Just needs to be more consistent and confident. Will find it tougher in a pro loop with taller and more athletic players. But Cruz is a smart cookie. He doesn’t need to score to be effective as he is a creative passer. He will have to use his speed and smarts to get the better of taller players.
Who will get heavy minutes?
Pringle, Banchero, and Alas.
Who will get moderate minutes?
Ronald Pascual and Anthony Semerad.