Oct. 25, 2016
2016 PBA Mock Draft: The Gilas Pilipinas Cadets Special Draft Round
FIBA’s new calendar of events pretty much messed up the entire global basketball build. Home and away games in-between conferences will send owners and national team managers into disputes. The PBA may be twelve teams in one country but what about the teams playing in Europe?
What about the NBA letting their players return to their respective countries so they can compete in qualifiers?
If you remember June Mar Fajardo’s story, The Kraken begged off from national duties to rest. This shouldn’t really be a problem... if he wasn’t needed to compete in the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championship. Sure, China did stir the officiating to their direction... but Zhao Qi wouldn’t have been that dominant if Fajardo was there to torment his gameplay.
So with June Mar’s example, I guess you can pretty much imagine the ton load of anger the PBA players will endure from the fans if they begged off from their Gilas Pilipinas commitments to honor their multi-million contracts.
I guess this is why the SBP created the Gilas Pilipinas cadet system.
But here’s the thing – Chot Reyes has re-joined Gilas Pilipinas and said he would rather see the cadets strut their wares in the league. If there are tournaments they need to play in, then they must be readily available to accept the challenge. After all, all Reyes needs is 60 days of full-time commitment to serve as preparation. But the most important thing about the former TNT mentor is he wants the best pro core. The minute he inherited the reins from Rajko Toroman, he hunted for the best names and that is partly the reason why Gilas Pilipinas got a FIBA World Championship stint. What better way to mold the cadets by pairing them up with previous Gilas members like Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario, Aldrech Ramos, and Calvin Abueva?
But then again, what better way to form a national squad than taking the best names of the league? Now that we have faced the world’s best and given how we raved about our loss to France and ranted on how bad we were against New Zealand, it’s going to be hard for team owners to hide their best bets because it would mean they are going to be seen in a bad light. If there’s an ongoing conference, we might see the eliminate teams loan their players as Reyes waits for the availability of the parts of his wish list.
Or the cadet pool.
But for sure, he’s not going to use all twelve men in the system.
If that’s the case, then the two-year contracts they would give to these players are going to be senseless.
Just like the special draft they are going to make.
Anyway, the PBA and the SBP declared twelve players to be involved in the special draft – one of which was hastily-named because the twelfth cadet member – Almond Vosotros – is already playing for Blackwater Elite.
So in this mock draft I present to you the twelve players and how I think they will be picked in the 2016 PBA Draft – Special Round.
Game starts now.
1 – Blackwater Elite
Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio has confirmed the international play eligibility of Matthew Wright. The former St. Bonaventure standout was instrumental in bringing the Westsports Malaysia Dragons to ABL heaven. Wright also took part in Mighty Sports’ Merlion Cup roster where he is joined by a slew of imports led by Al Thornton and Marcus Douthit, Jason Brickman, Ravena, 2016 PBA Draft applicants Ael Banal and Gelo Alolino, and GlobalPort mainstay Joseph Yeo (the team took silver honors because of the 43-point explosion of Shanghai Sharks’ Jimmer Fredette). Wright is amazing beyond the arc and I bet he’s going to be a key component in Blackwater’s ascent from gutter hell. Furthermore, Wright is coming to the draft at 25 years of age. Stanley Pringle is 27 when he applied while Moala Tautuaa is 26. ABL has been a good source for Fil-Am goodness with Fajardo and Chris Banchero also serving as examples.
2 – Star Hotshots
Initially I thought Star would use their pick to select a big man. In hindsight, it’s hard for Star to depend on a big man that they will lose whenever there’s an international competition. It’s easy for the Hotshots however to score on a combo forward regarded by many as one of the best amateurs not named Ray Parks or Kiefer Ravena. Belo is also seen as a no-brainer top choice by Blackwater and the only reason why I’m not putting his name as the top pick is because Fil-Ams have this certain aura of confidence. And it’s not like they don’t have a player like Ian Sangalang, Rodney Brondial, and Jake Pascual to develop. Playing for this franchise entails a serious amount of pressure... which makes Belo’s status suited to ease out the aforementioned stress.
3 – Phoenix Fuel Masters
Arnold Van Opstal
I believe the Phoenix Fuel Masters will get the best player available and while they are in need of a scorer, Mick Pennisi is on the brink of retirement. Now unlike Asi Taulava, Pennisi has shown his real age (unlike The Rock who looks quite old for a 27-year old). Arnold Van Opstal is a good pick for them because it solves their size deficit. Sure Willy Wilson played extremely well last season but he probably wants another player in the low block to help him. And it’s not like anyone would care if Phoenix selects a player that’s bound to see action elsewhere. Their fanbase aren’t as rabid so it gives AVO ample time to level up his game sans the pressure. Plus he's a giant with a post up game. Whoever Phoenix selects at three could be their de facto star player.
4 – Mahindra Enforcers
I think Mahindra has invested a lot on LA Revilla... so it would be foolish for them to select Jio Jalalon. With that said, it’s high time for Kevin Ferrer to get scooped. Mahindra could use another wingman with size especially if the Enforcers would use him alongside Aldrech Ramos and KG Canaleta to form a small but quick lineup. Canaleta is a hit or miss offensive machine for some time now and he has become injury prone as of late. The former UST Growling Tiger is a combo forward with range. The Enforcers have yet to replace the scoring goodness of Karl Dehesa and they fill up the void with Ferrer.
5 – GlobalPort Batang Pier
I know GlobalPort just acquired improved behemoth JR Quinahan and they also have a slew of bigs still in search of success like Yousef Taha, Billy Mamaril, Doug Kramer, and Rico Maierhofer but GlobalPort also has a lot of wingmen on their side. Russel Escoto is quite raw for the PBA at the moment (he pretty much let Mac Belo and company run amuck on FEU’s foes) but if you’re GlobalPort, you’d hope he’ll stockpile on the knowledge he’ll get in his trips because this could help them in the future.
6 – NLEX Road Warriors
I am not going to say this because I am a mean person... but Macmac Cardona is probably on his way out, Kevin Alas could still struggle as their combo guard, and Yeng Guiao is probably going to look for a player that will fit his system. With this in mind, he’s probably going to look for a guy like Roger Pogoy. Knowing the fiery coach, the last thing he wants is a pretty boy that couldn’t hurt a fly. At first glance, Pogoy doesn’t look much like a marquee player but then when you look at his stats, you get that the guy improved every year, is full of ambition, and will do everything to make a name.
7 – Meralco Bolts
You know what – the gameplay of Scottie Thompson killed Meralco. The guy was all over the place during their series and deserves the right to be called heir apparent of the Kings’ backcourt. Now I can’t really say Jio Jalalon has a similar makeup as Thompson. But like the former Alta, Jalalon is goddamn scrappy, took the NCAA by storm, doesn’t buy genetic makeup (Jalalon is no rebounding slouch either), and has a skill set that could launch another title campaign for the Bolts (especially with the circumstances surrounding Jimmy Alapag’s playing career).
8 – TNT KaTropa
The special draft is littered with shooters and slashers and this is what Talk N Text needs to fix at the moment. Incoming coach Nash Racela is in the prowl to look for better talent and it’s hard for him to forget about his former FEU player. Tolomia will give TNT’s backcourt (hopefully) an injury-free talent who can rev up their aging frontline with Larry Fonacier and Ryan Reyes in line for decreased playing time.
9 – Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
Rain or Shine could use a guy like this former UST Growling Tiger as insurance policy for the future. The team recently traded for James Yap but we’re unsure if what they got is a man on a mission or a dude that could just be running out his contract. Ed Daquioag is a scoring combo guard like Paul Lee and could give Caloy Garcia different offensive looks when the opportunity presents itself. The Elasto Painters also traded Josan Nimes for Mahindra’s 2018 draft pick.
10 – Barangay Ginebra Kings
Ginebra went from third to tenth with the entry of the special round. Logic would have the Kings pouncing on a big man in preparation to Greg Slaughter’s hiatus. Since it’s impossible for either Escoto or Van Opstal to end in this part, the next logical choice would be a hardworking player that could easily understand Cone’s system. I believe the Von Pessumal is poised to be in this situation because of the intangibles he’ll bring to the table. He’s also a project – and I’m pretty sure the MVP-backed national team will take care of this long-time Eagle.
11 – Alaska Aces
Carl Bryan Cruz
Alex Compton has this knack to fall in love with limited but hardworking players. Ping Exciminiano is a classic example of this and Vic Manuel is another. So he’ll probably like the idea of having Carl Bryan Cruz in his stable. A fourth or fifth option with the FEU Tamaraws, he used the PBA D-League to make a name for himself. Cruz has height and can play multiple positions. Regardless who ends up in this spot, Compton will have a field day in developing that player.
12 – San Miguel Beermen
I dread the last person to make the list. Aside from being the odd man out, he’s going to be trapped in the hellhole that is the San Miguel bench. Brian Heruela went from playing 38 minutes in Blackwater to eight in San Miguel. Like I said, SMB’s bench is quite an abyss. But perhaps this could work well for this former Eagle/Archer. Gotladera is going to be a project now but if you’re San Miguel, they could use his international matches as training for them. It’s not like they are in dire straits for talents anyway.
So here’s my list. I will do a mock draft he moment the complete list of applicants for the regular version of the 2016 PBA Draft becomes available.
As of this moment, the consensus top pick is Rashawn McCarthy. As for everything else, that’s kind of a mystery. This is why I would rather have one draft procedure for the Gilas and non-Gilas applicants and let the teams decide if they want to play their rookies with restrictions or otherwise.
Anyway do you agree with this list? If so, share this with your buddies. If you don’t, then sound your thoughts on the comments section while still sharing the article to your buddies.