I guess this would be another draft that Jason Brickman and Taylor Statham would miss. And now, let’s add Jeremiah Grey, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, and Tyrus Hill to the mix. Inasmuch as I want Grey, Hill, and Ganuelas-Rosser to enter the draft, they are better off for the next season. The influx of talent – as well as the current PBA situation – is not ideal for blue-chippers.
Again, let me state that the 2019 batch just played one conference.
The players are lucky that there’s going to be a 3x3 tournament because I don’t know how the coaches are going to fit 12 to 15 players in just 48 minutes of action.
The current bumper crop of prospects are either former 3x3 players, former ABL players, former college stars, former MPBL mainstays, and basically a bunch of no-namers in search of recognition. I don’t how the teams are going to scout their games but I guess it’s a combo of muscle memory and Youtube videos. There are 80+ applicants and I doubt if we would see 30 rookies this season.
I made a Youtube video of my earlier picks and that video has not aged well.
Anyway, here is my updated version... one week before the actual PBA draft.
1 | TERRAFIRMA | JOSHUA MUNZON
No surprises here. Inasmuch as Roosevelt Adams is a power forward that should have been playing as a small forward, Terrafirma needs a superstar that can direct traffic, score at will, rally the boys, and take Terrafirma’s game to the next level. Munzon will not bring the wins to Terrafirma, but he’s the team’s newest boy toy unless a rich PBA team buys him out of their grasp. Terrafirma, in a lot of sense, is a team that just doesn't get the PBA scheme of things. Whether Terrafirma improves or stagnates under his leadership, you still can't help but wonder how Munzon will fare when the team decides to rebuild for the umpteenth time and sell his services for a couple of second-stringers.
2 | NORTHPORT | JAMIE MALONZO
Another no-brainer pick, his entry to the fold is not equally-interesting. The last time an Atenean and a La Sallian teamed up on a Mikee Romero-owned squad, Harbour Centre went insane and destroyed every PBL opponent en route to a haul of championships. Now Greg Slaughter and Malonzo may not have the star power of LA Tenorio and a pick between Macmac Cardona, Joseph Yeo, and Rico Maierhofer but with a complete lineup, Northport could have a credible run with Malonzo as a fourth offensive option.
3 | NLEX | TROY RIKE
I am still leaning towards Troy Rike as the third overall pick of the draft. His height is obviously a good thing and I always look at him as this generation’s version of Mike Hrabak. Again, this is not a bad thing because Hrabak played in the league when three-point shooting big men are considered taboo. Yeng Guiao likes these types of players (especially if he becomes a nerd on defense) and I guess Asi Taulava could use Rike as his project as he begins his transition to the coaching world.
4 | NLEX | CALVIN OFTANA
I think an MVP pro team and an MVP college team is a bad mix in the PBA. I guess for every Kiefer Ravena and Chris Newsome, you have a Yousif Aljamal, a random Pascual-surnamed guy, and even a Dave Marcelo who has wandered from team to team since his PBA debut. Now Calvin Oftana could have jumped to the pros after completing his NCAA eligibility but seeing how the collegiate ranks are in at the moment, I get his entry. As mentioned, NLEX is in need of height and while Oftana is more of a Javee Mocon-type, he could be the team’s final championship piece.
5 | RAIN OR SHINE | FRANKY JOHNSON
I have been checking out Mikee Reyes’ wonderful Youtube content and while agreeing with his reactions to various bits of information, I have to respectfully disagree with some of his draft predictions. Franky Johnson is younger and has made his mark as a quarterback for MVP-aligned teams. Rain or Shine is actually one of these teams. Mikey Williams may be a more explosive scorer but I think Johnson could be a better fit as ROS’ 2021 version of their previous combo guards like Paul Lee, Solomon Mercado, and Maverick Ahanmisi.
6 | ALASKA | JAMES LAPUT
Here’s where it gets interesting. Sonny Thoss retired a season ago and they just lost Vic Manuel to Phoenix. While Barkley Ebona and Abu Tratter are low-key... top-tier muscles inside the paint, it’s hard to decline a 6’10 Fil-Am. Inasmuch as Santi Santillan, Alvin Pasaol, Larry Muyang, Ben Adamos are also potential finds at the sixth spot, I think Jeffrey Cariaso would also want to beef up his frontline. I mean... how else could they stop the SMC giants with their current frontline? Tratter has evolved leaps and bounds but again, a 6’10 project is a good problem to have.
7 | PHOENIX | SANTI SANTILLAN
Inasmuch as there were better players like Grey, Brickman, and Statham for the Fuel Masters to drool upon, Phoenix has covered most of their kinks via trades. At the moment, the draft is still rich with dependable combo forwards. Phoenix currently has an insane win-now mentality because they have the tools to reach the next level. People forget that Matthew Wright took his game to the next level because of Calvin Abueva’s absence. Anyway, Beast teammates Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero are set to join forces with Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, and Justin Chua. This team could use another big man or a second unit highlight. Why not both with Santi Santillan?
8 | TERRAFIRMA | ALVIN PASAOL
I said in my first mock draft that the only way Terrafirma could win the CJ Perez draft is by actually have a sensible pick at the eighth spot. Alvin Pasaol is kind of like a baby version of CJ Perez’s offensive awareness inside the court and this is not a bad thing considering how shallow is Terrafirma at the moment. While Team Dyip could also use the selection to pad size, I think they need to address their limitations on offense first. If the former UE Red Warrior brings his scoring game to the pros, then they will have a better idea of whatever insanity they would pull as the season progress.
9 | MERALCO | ALJUN MELECIO
Here’s a shocker of monumental proportions. The selection of Kib Montalbo to the TNT cause came as a shock – especially how he has used the last conference. These DLSU guards... are reliable contributors! So maybe having another “enemy” could serve another MVP team well. The Bolts just lost Baser Amer to Blackwater and they may need a pass-first, def-oriented PG especially if they want to slide Chris Newsome to the SG/SF spot. Now I know Aaron Black also mans the point but Melecio is more suited for the position as compared to Norman Black’s combo guard son. And yeah, Melecio is projected as a mid-second-round guy (in my initial mock draft, I pegged him as a late second-rounder), but Meralco only has one pick in the first two rounds so they need to make this selection count. When Meralco fought Ginebra in last season’s playoffs, the big men propelled their rise but it was the guards that had the task to initiate the moves.
10 | MAGNOLIA | BEN ADAMOS
Maybe at this point, Ben Adamos could have been a goner – especially with how wacky I made the first nine picks on this list. But I don’t really know how this guy plays. I think he could have returned to the NCAA to further season his game but with the situation the world is in, it’s actually understandable why he locked himself in. And also, Magnolia is going to need a bunch of new stars to replace their old stars. Sure, the Hotshots gave up on Michael Calisaan but Aris Dionisio came in to become a noteworthy talent. While I still think the Hotshots are going to swerve people by bringing in a guard, Ben Adamos is the best player available in the draft... if he is still available.
11 | NORTHPORT | LARRY MUYANG
I know the team just grabbed Greg Slaughter and they also traded Bradwyn Guinto to Rain or Shine for Clint Doliguez and Sidney Onwubere but I guess having another big man in Larry Muyang is not an insane thought. Last season, injuries played a major part in the team’s lackluster campaign. Muyang is a lean-and-mean post-up threat that could also play a major role in case they want to play Sean Anthony and Malonzo in the small forward spot or in case one of their big men gets injured. Also, Northport is also going to pick another player at the thirteenth spot. So I guess Northport can have two bigs in the first round and then look for a guard in the second.
12 | GINEBRA | MIKEY WILLIAMS
I know said that this pick is the whammy pick. Of all the spots on this list, a rookie’s worst nightmare is probably getting selected by a team that just won a title and now has Christian Standhardinger. This is the reason why I am not going to select a big man to become this team’s newest version of key practice player/project. With that said, they are still going to get the best player available and I am going to put Mikey Williams in this spot. I know Ginebra has Stanley Pringle, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, and even last year’s rookies Kent Salado and Jerrick Balanza on their fold. But in some ways, this furthers the rationale behind the Mikey Williams pick. At 29, Williams is going to bolster a squad despite the minuscule playing time. He could be Ginebra’s version of Talen Horton-Tucker.
So I am going to end this here. But I am also going to do a second-round version... if I get the time to do so.
DOUBLE HAND FLAP.