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2014 PBA ROOKIE LADDER AS OF FEBRUARY 27, 2014

06:56 PM February 27, 2014

The Mixers won Game 6. They have annexed the sixth All-Filipino title in franchise history. In the process, Tim Cone became the winningest coach (in terms of titles) in PBA history, and Mark Barroca was named Finals MVP. SMC rookies Ian Sangalang and Justin Melton had hefty contributions in the Mixers’ campaign, providing hustle and muscle of the pine. The question, though, is whether their contributions are enough to push them higher in our PBA Rookie Ladder.

As always, this list is principally based on the Efficiency Ratings (EFF). Once again, this measures production and NOT potential

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Anyway, here they are – the top ten rookies in the 2013-2014 PBA season as of February 27, 2014:

10. Alex Nuyles (ROS) – 4.8ppg, 2.3rpg, 16.0 EFF
Best Game: 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists against TNT on Jan. 11, 2014. (same)

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Maybe someday, Nuyles will blossom into a Cyrus Baguio-ish contributor, but, right now, he should be content being an understudy (if not an afterthought) to the likes of Jeff Chan, Jireh Ibañes, and Ryan Araña. Still a long way to go, young ‘un.

9. Justin Melton (SMC) – 3.7ppg, 2.5rpg, 1.6apg, 1.0spg, 16.3 EFF
Best Game: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block against Ginebra on Feb. 5, 2014. (new)

Melton breaks through after a slew of promising outings in the playoffs. His combination of speed and leaping ability is rare in these parts, which makes him a cinch as a fan favorite. I’d love to see him in the slam dunk contest, if only so we can have a potential Spud Webb-ish moment.

8. Eric Camson (A21) – 4.9ppg, 4.9rpg, 18.6 EFF
Best Game: 10 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 steal against Petron on Dec. 11, 2013. (same)

Camson has the size and skill-set to potentially be a Jervy Cruz-type of player for the Express, but he’ll have to be more aggressive and more consistent. I expect his numbers to dip in the Commish Cup, but I also expect him to learn a lot from battling with bigger guys in the paint. Big upside for this former Soaring Falcon.

7. Carlo Lastimosa (BAR) – 6.1ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.3apg 18.7 EFF
Best Game: 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists against GlobalPort on Dec. 29, 2013. (same)

What I love about Lastimosa is he’s fearless. What I don’t love is that he can also be reckless. Still, he’s a high-risk-high-reward guy who can either overhaul a 10-point deficit, or make it even worse.

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6. Justin Chua (GLO) – 5.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 19.0 EFF
Best Game: 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal against San Mig Coffee on Dec. 20, 2013. (-2)

Chua’s career in the pros has started slowly, but he’s just too good to stay glued to the bench. Given the right mindset and appropriate playing time, Chua can maybe contribute to his team about as much as Ian Sangalang is contributing to the Mixers. Of course, he may have to wait a significant amount of time before that happens.

5. RR Garcia (GLO) – 8.3ppg, 2.1rpg, 2.3apg, 20.0 EFF
Best Game: 20 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal against Ginebra on Nov. 28, 2013. (same)

Garcia might actually see things open up for him in the Commish Cup, what with most defenses concentrated on stopping the hulking imports in the paint. If he gets enough open looks, he might see more of his shots fall through. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if his assists go up – yes, even with Alex Cabagnot probably hogging most of the minutes.

4. Raymond Almazan ROS) – 5.5ppg, 5.5rpg, .560 FG%, 22.2 EFF
Best Game: 17 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks against San Mig Coffee on Dec. 29, 2013. (+2)

Almazan is improving at a slow but steady pace. He’s not yet a double-double monster, and he might never be, but, at the very least, he has the makings of a Rafi Reavis-type of big man. That means he’ll be good at doing the dirty work while filling in the lanes and open spots for those easy drops in the paint.

3. Ian Sangalang (SMC) – 8.8ppg, 5.3rpg, 24.1 EFF
Best Game: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block against Ginebra on Feb. 12, 2014. (same)

Sangalang was instrumental in SMC’s title run that culminated last night, which makes me kinda want to put him at #1 on this list. The thing is, though, is that we’re looking at a rookie’s body of work, and, so far, I cannot put him ahead of the next two guys here mainly because he hasn’t really been as consistent as them. Right now, Sangalang remains a solid contributor, but unlike #s 1 and 2, he’s not a first, second, or even third option yet.

2. Terrence Romeo (GLO) – 14.5ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.8apg, 1.4 triples per game, 27.3 EFF
Best Game: 34 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal against Air21 on Nov. 23, 2013. (same)

GlobalPort has its own version of Paul Lee, and he’s named Terrence Romeo. Romeo won’t lead the Batang Pier to any Finals series anytime soon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue to see him drive and snipe with abandon. That’s both his greatest strength and worst weakness. Like Lastimosa, Romeo is a wildcard, but, whereas Lastimosa might drop a big game once every two or three weeks, Romeo is a risk-for-explosion every single night.

1. Greg Slaughter (GIN) – 15.4ppg, 10.1rpg, 1.5bpg, 1.4apg, .535 FG%, 38.5 EFF
Best Game: 29 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block against San Mig Coffee on Feb. 2, 2014. (same)

Gregzilla remains the frontrunner for ROY despite failing to lead the Kings to the promised land this conference. He’ll really be tested with the big imports of the Commish Cup, but I don’t think we’ll see a really big dip in his production. I think bumping and grinding against more athletic guys who approximate his size will only be good for him.

Outside looking in:
Nico Salva (GLO) – 14.1 EFF
Ping Exciminiano (ALA) – 14.0 EFF
Jeric Teng (ROS) – 12.2 EFF

Enzo Flojo is new here on the PBA site, but he has been writing about all things basketball for quite some time now. You can read more of his stuff on his nationally-recognized blog, HoopNut.com, on the college hoops site, InboundPass.com, on Rappler Sports, on Asia-Basket.com, or you can follow him on Twitter — @HoopNut.

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