So I made a first-round version of my mock draft and you can click the link...
13 | NLEX – TYLER TIO
An Atenean going to an MVP team?!? How unoriginal! With that said, this is also possible. I bet Tyler Tio will have a Gilas cadet tag and being on an MVP team would make him accessible. Tio can be a pass-first guard but he’s also effective as a scoring threat. Also, he could be a good supplement if Kiefer Ravena decides to continue his stint in Japan. Yeng Guiao has a tendency to rely on odd choices but I doubt if he’ll excuse himself to the talents of Tyler Tio. Also, Guiao would like Tio if he’s not going to be a prima donna. This reminds me of Chris Tiu, a certified UAAP campus cutie that has the tendency to go a la Ginebra Robert Jaworski if the situation presents itself.
14 | PHOENIX – KURT LOJERA
Like the situation of NLEX’s Kiefer Ravena, Phoenix may need to prepare for life without the services of Matthew Wright. Kurt Lojera could be a good player to claim for the Fuel Masters. The DLSU Green Archer is a young combo guard that could rock the rim. With this in mind though, Phoenix has four second-round picks and they are probably going to need all four to strengthen their current state. Like Tio, I initially pegged Lojera as a first-round prospect. He may have dipped in this version but I’m not going to be shocked if the earlier teams race for his services.
15 | CONVERGE – KYLE TOTH
I know little of Kyle Toth and this is a good thing for Converge. They can afford to waste a pick since they already have two first-round finds. They can also surprise people by getting a mystery that could turn out to be a generational talent. The end may be near for Mark Caguioa’s PBA career but the hunt for the next Spark still lives to this day. I guess the only downside for these mystery finds is that the last season produced the likes of Taylor Browne and Brian Enriquez – and they haven’t produced the Spark-like numbers.
16 | PHOENIX – ALLEN MINA
Allen Mina is your prototypical 3-and-D guy and in the current landscape, there are a lot of 3-and-D guys in the MPBL. With that said, Mina is the most famous. He is also part of Letran’s superb core. Sure, Mina shares time with Rhenz Abando and Brent Paraiso in the SG/SF positions (sometimes with Tommy Olivario), but Mina can splash the net and slash the rim when able. What’s good about this Phoenix pick is that the Fuel Masters lost a lot of players in January’s free agency spell. Mina could be a good player for Phoenix especially if Matthew Wright holds out from signing a contract and leaves the team through trade or overseas.
17 | RAIN OR SHINE – CHRISTIAN FAJARITO
Christian Fajarito’s NCAA Season 97 numbers are far from impressive. However, one needs to note that he is a graduating player who is also just returning to the squad. Of course, Bonnie Tan would rely on Jeo Ambohot and develop the careers of Pao Javillonar and Louie Sangalang before going to Fajarito but don’t count him out just yet. The public may forget how Allein Maliksi never really had an exceptional UAAP career because he played the same position as Dylan Ababou. The same can be said with Justin Chua and JP Erram (blame Greg Slaughter), Magnum Membrere (blame LA Tenorio), Banjo Calpito (blame Romel Adducul), and Jason Perkins (blame Ben Mbala). The results have varied but the fact of the matter is, so-so college careers will never stop a player from achieving his goal and Christian Fajarito to the PBA is no different.
18 | RAIN OR SHINE – ATO ULAR
As the fourth pick of the Elasto Painters, this pick could either get a pass or a player they can assign to their 3X3 squad. But this is also a good time to experiment with options, especially with the MPBL players. With that said, they can also check out former NCAA champions like Ato Ular. While the former Letran Knight missed out on NCAA breaking out as part of GTV's afternoon schedule, there is a slight chance that the Elasto Painters would give him a chance.
Also, I just realized that I had three Letran players in a row.
19 | PHOENIX – JERWYN GUINTO
The loss of Justin Chua as well as the other players they had on their roster left a pretty big void in a lot of places. To track down a key big man, Jerwyn Guinto could provide the muscle the team needs. Under the radar in NCAA 97, because the focus was on the triumvirate of Justin Arana, Jeo Ambohot, and JM Calma, Bradwyn Guinto’s kid brother could be a key catch in the mid-second round. Former rival Larry Muyang has yet to strut his wares in the league which is both bane and boon for the Lyceum Pirate.
20 | GINEBRA – ENCHO SERRANO
With the Gins taking a big man in the first round, it’s probably reasonable for the Gins to address their guard needs. Over the years, Ginebra has had questionable picks. Why would Ginebra take the likes of Jimbo Aquino, Macky Escalona, and James Forrester at the height of Mark Caguioa’s prime? With that said, Ginebra’s backcourt isn’t as strong as it was once – with Tim Cone at times opting to field LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson at the same time – leaving Nard Pinto and Kent Salado to man the second unit. Yes, Stanley Pringle is probably back in harness but he’s also coming from surgery. Encho Serrano is from their 3X3 squad and he could be a possibility at this spot.
21 | BLACKWATER – MARK DYKE
I may be insane to think that Mark Dyke is late second-round material. At this point though, this is the best landing spot for a player who wants to make a name. Last season, Blackwater had two early second-round choices and while Joshua Torralba had a respectable rookie year, the same can’t be said with Rey Mark Acuno. Actually, 27th pick Andre Paras had a better showing and the same can be said with rookie free agents Val Chauca and John Amboludto. Even if Blackwater has two first-round picks, this pick could be a draft steal spot.
22 | MERALCO – BJ ANDRADE
The thing about this pick is that it’s going to be a good one for the lucky player. This team is peppered with pass-first guards, shoot-and-slash SGs and SFs but I feel that at this point, they are going to get the best possible option. While there is a chance of BJ Andrade getting picked ahead as high as the mid-second round, it’s also possible that Meralco will save the Atenean from going to the third round. At this point, the draft is slowly going to the realm of MPBL mainstays and usually, these players are better rookie free agents than the college kids. It’s interesting to note that of the three Ateneo applicants, Andrade is the oldest at 26 years old.
23 | PHOENIX – JOSHUA FONTANILLA
Again, Phoenix needs to find a way to shape their roster and they are going to do this by picking the best players available in the draft. Josh Fontanilla is unfortunately the link that binds the good UST from the awful UST we have this season. With that said, Phoenix is aimless at this point. Alongside the Wright problem, RR Garcia is already 32 and RJ Jazul is already 36 years old. Jazul is the team’s third-leading scorer while Garcia’s numbers have dipped ever since he played for both San Miguel and TNT. Fontanilla is not overly-offensive minded a la Carlo Lastimosa and could help the team as a potential diamond in the rough.
24 | MAGNOLIA – JOLLO GO
Last on this list is again, Magnolia. Now, unlike the other two SMC teams, Magnolia has Chito Victolero as their coach. Pretty much, he is Yeng Guiao’s version in Ramon Ang’s court. The former San Juan Knight has a penchant for giving no-namers and beyond second-rounders a chance to play in the PBA – with the likes of Ronnie De Leon, Alvin Capobres, and Loren Brill as examples. While Jollo Go may be a popular name in UAAP circles, he finished his college career on a sour note. Jollo got a boost as part of Ginebra’s 3X3 squad and along with his MPBL stint, this former DLSU Green Archer could do something with his pro career with Magnolia.
Browsing through the list, I find Jhonard Clarito, Alvin Baetiong, Andrey Armenion, Shaq Alanes, CJ Cadua, Jay-R Dela Rosa, Chris De Chavez, Daryl Pascual, Garexx Puerto, Marwin Taywan, Orlan Wawar, and Keith Zaldivar.
Clarito and Zaldivar could be possible second-rounders.
So do you agree with this list? Sound off your comments below.