The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Annual Rookie Draft will unfold today at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila. The 12 teams of the league will pick players from a pool of 53 applicants to beef up their respective lineups for the 2017 season, which begins on November 20.
The names of players selected to join the Gilas Pilipinas national team will also be announced during today’s draft.
Blackwater and Phoenix own the first and second pick, respectively, of both the regular and the Gilas drafts.
Blackwater is expected to pick forward Mac Belo, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas cadet team and considered as one of the top five rookies prior to today’s draft.
Phoenix, meanwhile, might pick Jio Jalalon, Arnold Van Opstal or Matthew Wright in the Gilas special draft.
“We need a strong center and a good point guard that’s why we listed Van Opstal, Jalalon and Wright,” Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
Vanguardia hinted that they would likely pick the 6’5 Chris Javier, point guard Gelo Alolino, the 6’4 Joseph Eriobu or forward Roger Pogoy in the regular draft.
“We need players who can play alongside Cyrus Baguio, Simon Enciso, Mark Cruz, JC Intal, the 6’9 veteran Mick Penissi and Willie Wilson,” said Vanguardia. “We’re also eyeing to draft other rookies like Gino Jumao-as, but let’s see. It is time for Phoenix to go deeper to the playoff round.”
Blackwater might get combo guard Ael Banal as its top overall pick in the regular draft after naming Belo its top pick in the Gilas draft.
Governor’s Cup champion Barangay Ginebra is expected to choose former University of Santo Tomas standout Kevin Ferrer as its third pick in the special draft, but it has not decided yet if it’s going to pick a rookie in the regular draft because its line-up is still intact.
Mahindra team manager Eric Pineda, on the other hand, said he is hoping to get former Far Eastern University big man, the 6’6 Russel Escoto, in the special draft and one back-up point guard in the regular draft.
“We need a big guy who can shoot outside just like the 6’7 Aldrech Ramos and Escoto is the ideal guy for us. In the regular draft, we are eyeing to get a back-up for LA (Revilla),” Pineda told The Times in a phone interview.
The Star Hotshots, under new coach Chito Victolero, will most likely get wingmen or small forwards plus another big man.
Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer will be picking fifth with no advance pronouncement.
Meralco, meanwhile, announced that it already got Joseph Yeo via trade from GlobalPort in exchange of Rey Guevarra.
“Joseph Yeo is with us already. He brings experience, talent and a solid outside shooter to our team which is something we lacked last year,” Meralco coach Norman Black said.
“As far as the draft is concerned, we have the seventh pick so we will just look for the best available talent, preferably a shooter.
“We were asked not to comment on the Gilas draft because it will be announced tomorrow (today),” Black added.
Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) new coach Yeng Guiao said they might trade their pick in the regular draft for a big man who can back up veteran Paul Asi Taulava and Enrico Villanueva. NLEX will be picking eighth.
NLEX also got Carlo Lastimosa recently from Blackwater through a trade. The Road Warriors relinquished James Forrester and a second round draft right to the Elite.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine’s new coach Carlos “Caloy” Garcia said that they would be selecting ninth overall both in the special draft and the regular draft. He said they intend to pick the best available point guard and center.