RD 1 PICK 12 – KEITH ZALDIVAR
RD 2 PICK 24 – CARLO DE CHAVEZ
RD 3 PICK 36 – ORLAN WAWAR
RD 4 PICK 44 – GAREXX PUERTO
I promise not to grade the choices. With that said, I seriously question the Magnolia picks. Most specifically, Keith Zaldivar. It’s not that I don’t respect the pick – I just don’t get it. In terms of the best options, there are a lot of better alternatives.
With that said, who am I to discount this pick?
Zaldivar is fresh off an Adamson stint and maybe his game connects with Chito Victolero’s style. With the exception of a center that could replace the 40-something Rafi Reavis, Magnolia is pretty much solid in terms of guards, forwards, and centers. And while I am giving the Hotshots flak for their center position, it’s not really a major problem because they already have a project in James Laput as well as two doable big men in Aris Dionisio and Russel Escoto.
I mean... why fix something that doesn’t need repairs?
With that said, I think they got a couple of bench bets in Carlo De Chavez, Orlan Wawar, and Garexx Puerto. CDC has seen action for Chooks To Go in the 3X3 leagues and I guess it’s a possible destination for him. The thing about these MPBL bets is while there’s a strong chance of them returning to the league, there’s a possibility that Chito Victolero might have something for them. The former Mapua standout created his team to have a different look compared to the other SMC teams. In some ways, one can argue that Magnolia is SMC’s NLEX version in terms of being Yeng Guiao-ish. A guy like Jackson Corpuz would have floundered in Ginebra and San Miguel but in Magnolia, he is doing his best version of Marc Pingris. Last season, the Hotshots used Adrian Wong, Ronnie De Leon, Alvin Capobres, and Loren Brill. Wong may be a first-round pick but he’s also coming from a second-stringer role in Rain or Shine. There is a chance that De Chavez, Wawar, and Puerto could see action when injuries engulf the team but it’s not going to stop Chito Victolero from using his tried and tested core.
Returning to Zaldivar, he’s probably a project that Victolero could cultivate from scratch. Corpuz, one of Victolero’s gems from his stint with Kia, is a classic example of a player designed to meet his coach’s needs. One of Yeng Guiao’s boys is Paul Lee from the old Rain or Shine squad that also had the tag team of JR Quinahan and Beau Belga – with Quinahan also part of his current NLEX roster.