2007 PBA Draft Analysis

On: 21 August 2007

I wanted to do an exclusive analysis on how the Sta. Lucia Realty did in PBA Draft held last 19 August 2007 at the Market! Market! Activity Center in Taguig, but I was also a little bit intrigued on how the other teams fared as well. Hence, I decided to analyze all teams instead. I was hoping that through this, we can all judge how SLR will fare against them at the All-Filipino Conference, which will officially start on October 2007.

1. Welcoat

What can be said about their pick except that they have chosen the most talented big man in the draft. Joe Devance would someday become the team’s franchise player and with the right players around him such as JR Reyes and Nic Belasco (acquired from Alaska in exchange for Junjun Cabatu), there is a good chance that they will snare a championship trophy anytime soon. The second pick of Welcoat was Ryan Araña. I don’t have any details about this player except that I heard he a solid defensive/hustling/character guy who could turn out to be a gem of player. I would tend to think that Welcoat is grroming Araña to be the heir of Jojo Tangkay.

2. San Miguel Beer

San Miguel Beer picked the 6-8 Samigue Eman after they failed to acquire Joe Devance. With the possibility of Dorian Peña missing the first six months of the Conference, SMB might be looking for someone to shore-up their frontline. However, many pundits believe that the team is better off picking the exciting point guard Ryan Reyes instead since Olsen Racela’s playing days could be numbered and LA Tenorio is a little too inconsistent at the point. Could this be another Bowie over Jordan fiasco? Well, time will tell, but after picking Paolo Hubalde in the 2005 Draft over the likes of Cesar Catli, Larry Fonacier and Mark Macapagal, I don’t think we should be surprised with any of the SMBs pick from now on.

Good thing for SMB, they were able to snatch Jonas Villanueva at number 9. Villanueva is a big point guard who can create some mismatches.

3. Sta. Lucia Realty

Given the chance to pick a big man to replace the aging Marlou Aquino at number 3, Sta. Lucia Realty surprised everyone when they chose point guard Ryan Reyes. Arguably one of the top 2 talented players in the Draft, the 23-year-old Reyes led the Super Sealers in scoring with 11.4 points average, while shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range and 82 percent from the free throw line. A few raised their eyebrows with this pick because it could mean more extended playing time for Aquino or maybe a time for Mark Isip to finally emerged from the shadows and show his true worth. However, if SLR skips Reyes and picks either Bono or Quiñahan, they may not be able to get another chance to acquire a quality point guard in the mold of Reyes. They may have to contend with Marvin Cruz, Jonas Villanueva or Macky Escalona, which for me is not really an upgrade from Dennis Miranda.

In the Second Round, SLR picked Melvin Mamaclay. Admittedly, I know next to nothing about this player except that he was one of those who staged a walkout of Adamson to protest the policy of UAAP of preventing sophomore players from applying in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL). Maybe they see a Mamaclay in the mold of Nonoy Falcasantos, who is definitely one of the favorites of SLR coaches, from Nat Canson to Adonis Tierra, for his penchant to turn virtual garbage into points under the basket. However, I won’t be surprised if he is not signed up.

4. Air21

Air 21 has three pick in the first round and they used it to collar JC Intal (4), Doug Kramer (5) and Yousif Aljamal (8). I don’t doubt the wisdom of picking Intal even if he might only duplicate what Niño Cañaleta. Intal got talent and it would be a big mistake if they try to pass him up. However, picking Kramer over Ken Bono (6) seems a little beyond me. Unlike Bono, Kramer is not a legitimate center. He may be able to defend and scramble for loose balls more aggressively than Bono, but definitely he lacks the scoring ability of the latter. More importantly, with the loss of Mark Telan (traded to Coke) and Mark Andaya (traded to Red Bull), Air21 needs somebody down low to complement the scoring of Gar David and Arwind Santos.

When Ai3 21 picked Yousif Aljamal it was intended for Talk N Text in an agreement forged before the draft. They never intended to include Aljamal in the line-up since they are already heavy in the power forward position with the acquisition of Kramer.

Marvin Cruz was picked at number 14 and could probably be groomed to be the solid back-up of Wynne Arboleda. Some would consider him a great steal. However, after talking to some experts and team GMs, I think his size (5’8”) and speed is working against him in this draft. He may posed as a potential target for mismatches and the fast speed he has shown in the amateurs would make his team prone to big number of errors.

As for RJ Masbang, I doubt that this UE forward will have a chance to play in the PBA.

5. Alaska

Aside from the Stevenson Solomon pick way back, I haven’t seen Alaska waste their pick on unreliable players. By picking Ken Bono (6) and JR Quiñahan (7), the team only made sure that they have solidified their front court and to fill the gap made with the departure of the aging Nic Belasco. It is expected that Coach Tim Cone will make use of the great passing skills of Bono in his Triangle Offense system and improve the work ethics and conditioning of Quiñahan. With regards to Ardy Larong (16), I don’t think he has a chance of being signed-up because of the overload of Alaska players already comfortable in the shaded area. In general and with the vast improvement of Sonny Thoss, Alaska just secured the next 5 years of this franchise with the two picks in this draft.

6. Ginebra

At number 10, Ginebra chose Ateneo point guard Macky Escalona. It is expected that Escalona will be the understudy of both Johnny Abarrientos and Jayjay Helterbrand. However, this choice has both attracted some raised eyebrows and at the same time sighs of relief. It was expected that Ginebra would choose Marvin Cruz instead of Escalona because the former certainly overplayed the latter in their one-on-one match-up at the amateurs. At the same time, many were relived that Coach Jong Uichico skipped unknown Derrick Hubalde after picking a virtual disappointment for San Miguel Beer in Paolo Hubalde two years ago. One thing is certain though, Escalona will have a hard time to break in the Ginebra lineup.

7. Coca-Cola

With most of the high picks going to the other teams, Coca-Cola did what is the next best thing to them – pick the best player still available in the draft. Ronjay Buenafe was picked at number 11, but he is considered as one of the productive guards in the draft. The problem is, Buenafe would have to share playing time with John Arigo, Kenneth Duremdes, Will Antonio, and even Chester Tolomia. Unless, Coach Binky Favis can market Will Antonio or even Joseph Yeo, I don’t expect Buenafe to make an immediate impact in this team.

8. Redbull

With the loss of Larry Fonacier to SMB, Redbull picked the 2006 UAAP Finals MVP, Jojo Duncil, at number 15. It was rumored that Alaska was also interested in acquiring his services if they were allowed one more pick, but Redbull was able to trade with Purefoods to get the 15th pick. He could probably be one of the steals in this draft. Duncil may still be raw in the pro ranks but expect him to develop in the Redbull Barako system just like what happened to co-UST alumni Cyrus Baguio.

9. Talk N Text

After acquiring Yousif Aljamal from Air21 and owing t the fact that they have an intact line-up, there is no reason for Talk N text to consider any other applicants with their 18th pick. Even Aljamal who was picked at number 8 is not even assured of getting a slot at this team.

10. Purefoods

Well, they already acquired Marc Pingris for their first round pick this year, but they could have used their other pick last year (Boyet Bautista) to get a first round player who could probably be Quinahan or Bono.

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