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2015 PBA Mock Draft

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[nextpage title = “2015 PBA Draft”]
It’s that time of the year everybody! In just a few days, the PBA will be injecting new blood into the players’ pool via the Annual Draft. Naturally, fans, media, and people-in-the-know have done their own mock drafts. Under the request of our editor, we’ve held back as long as we could with our own mock draft so that we could get as much information as possible.

The following list takes into account the latest trades and potential moves that our sources have provided us. For fun, I’ve also added ceiling and floor PBA pegs for each player. This could be totally wrong but who cares – it’s supposed to be fun.

The obvious Top Two picks >>

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1A & 1B: TNT selects Troy Rosario and Mo TautuaaMo-Tautuaa-and-Troy-Rosario

There’s no doubt about it – these two studs are the crème of the crop for this year’s batch of rookies. Tautuaa just dominated the D-League, showing why he’s deserving of the #1 overall pick.

Meanwhile, Rosario has just had a dream season himself. After being a relative nobody a year ago, he helped lead the Bulldogs to their first UAAP championship in SIXTY freaking years. Then he joined Hapee and showed that he could shine, even amongst a lineup full of stars. After that, he joined forces with his fellow collegiate stars, pushing the Sinag National Team to a gold medal at Seaba.

Let’s not forget who his coaches were at Seaba. That’s right – the MVP-led brain trust. Rumors are they are totally in love with his work ethic and team first attitude, which makes picking him a no-brainer. He could be the next coming of Ranidel De Ocampo.

Seriously, the sky’s the limit for these two players.

So, why 1A and 1B?

It’s been an open secret for months that Mahindra would be trading their first round pick (#2 overall) to TNT in exchange for milk and cookies. Jokes aside, the only thing that hasn’t been established is the actual composition of the trade – who would actually be moved and to what team.

The latest rumors are that TNT will be sending over Kevin Alas to NLEX, who in turn will trade one of their first round picks (most likely the 10th pick) and Aldrech Ramos to Mahindra. Jonas Villanueva’s name has circulated as well, so the veteran point guard could be in play as well.

In exchange for this package, Mahindra will send their pick to NLEX, which will be rerouted to TNT.

Is this a fair package? At a glance, it seems like it isn’t. As the cliché goes, the team that gets the best player is normally the winner of the trade. Ramos and the 10th pick for essentially a stud in Rosario or Tautuaa don’t seem fair. If however, Mahindra somehow gets their hand on NLEX’s number 6 pick, which could make things a lot more interesting.

For the third pick, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters select >>

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3. Rain or Shine selects Chris Newsome

For months, many believed that the Elasto Painters would use this pick to select a big man. With former DLSU Archer Norbert Torres being the best available big, it seemed like the logical choice for Rain or Shine.

I can’t help but feel though that Coach Yeng Guiao may end up using this pick on somebody else, even after trading away the solid Jervy Cruz.

Don’t forget that Guiao selected Kevin Alas in last year’s draft, as insurance in case Lee would be pried away from him. Of course, that all worked out and Alas is now with TNT (or soon to be NLEX?).

That said, perhaps Guiao will feel that it’s time to add a little bit of athleticism to his wing positions. Rumors are that they are shopping Ryan Arana, so this could help unclog some minutes for any newbie. Also, Gabe Norwood is getting a little long in the tooth, so he could start mentoring the young Newsome to take his spot in a few years.

Ceiling: Gabe Norwood

Floor: Rey Guevarra

For the fourth pick, the Meralco Bolts select >>

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4. Meralco selects Garvo LanetePBA-D-League-Garvo-Lanete

This is a homer pick for the MVP group. Management has asked the kid to skip the draft a couple of years now, so it’s about time they let the kid go big time.

Aside from the political reasons for this pick, Garvo would have a great opportunity to learn from Meralco’s aging back court. The newly acquired Jimmy Alapag and Gary David are in their twilight years, and who better to pass the torch to but a winner like Lanete?

The only question about Lanete is if he can still make a big improvement – he’s already 26 years old – and if he has the size to play the 2-guard position and be more than just a spot-up shooter.

Ceiling: Dondon Hontiveros

Floor: JR Cawaling

For the fifth pick, the Barangay Ginebra Kings select >>

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5. Ginebra selects Norbert Torres

This is where the draft gets really interesting. It will be Tim Cone’s first draft as Ginebra’s head coach. He’s already gone on record saying that the roster is imbalanced (hint: too many guards!), so we can deduce that he may be leaning towards getting a big man.

The obvious pick at this point may very well be Norbert Torres.

Torres may not be the sexiest name left on the list, but he does two things that Tim Cone loves. First, Norbert is a good rebounder, using his size to take up space. Second, he’s a smart offensive player who knows how to make reads and is a good passer. This is a major plus for him since he’ll be playing in the triangle, which is a read-and-react offense.

Ceiling: Beau Belga

Floor: Justin Chua

For the sixth pick, the NLEX Road Warriros select >>

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6. NLEX selects Scottie ThompsonCSJL vs. UPHSD- Cruz Thompson

This might be the hardest pick in the first round. Keep in mind that there are two Bedans left on the board – Art Dela Cruz and Baser Amer – both of whom have played for Coach Boyet Fernandez. Will management really force him to pass up on one of his guys?

For a shot at Scottie Thompson, I think yes. Out of the three, he has the highest upside on the pro level. His feel for the game on offense is at par with Amer and Dela Cruz, but it’s his defense that sets him apart. He’s also taller than Amer, which allows him to guard both 1 and 2s.

Imagine pairing Thompson with Alas in the backcourt. Now that’s a guard combo that could push the Road Warriors up the team rankings in a year or two.

Ceiling: Chris Lutz

Floor: Chris Timberlake

For the seventh pick, the Meralco Bolts select >>

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7. Meralco selects Baser Amer

Finally, Meralco gets its point guard of the future.

Amer is a solid, true point guard who loves to set up his teammates. He will also get instant on the job training, as Jimmy Alapag will most likely be unable to carry the burden of heavy minutes.

The biggest question mark for Amer right now is his injured right shoulder and whether he can develop a reliable outside shot.

Ceiling: Alex Cabagnot

Floor: Simon Atkins

For the eighth pick, the Star Hotshots select >>

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8. Star selects Art Dela CruzNCAA 91 CSJL vs. SBC- Dela Cruz

With a lineup as complete as Star’s, they’ll most likely go with the best available talent, which is Art Dela Cruz.

The problem with Dela Cruz is that he doesn’t have a true position. Is he a 3 or a 4 at the pro level? Will he have the speed to guard wings or the heft the defend big 4s? Yes, he’s smart, but high basketball IQ can only take you so far. Under the right coach and defensive system, his flaws will be hidden and he can shine on the offensive end. The good news is that Star has the right pieces in place where Art can learn and find a role. It may not just happen right away.

Ceiling: Joe Devance

Floor: Nico Salva

For the ninth pick, the Blackwater Elite selects >>

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9. Blackwater selects Maverick AhanmisiPBA-Images-Maverick-Ahanmisi

First of all, this should have been Rosario or Tautuaa, but after the laughter of a trade with TNT, they’ve ended up with the 9th pick. What makes this more painful is that they’ve picking 9th in a draft where the top 8 picks are near can’t miss prospects. After that, it gets that much tougher.

Blackwater has already come out and said that they would select Ahanmisi if he’s available. He also happens to be the player who will most likely have an established role in the PBA – that of being a solid wing defender who can still improve his offense.

Ceiling: Ryan Reyes

Floor: Aaron Aban

For the tenth pick, the NLEX Road Warriors select >>

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10. NLEX selects Josan NimesMIT vs. EAC- Nimes lay up

Whether or not this pick ends up with NLEX or Mahindra, Nimes is one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft. He’s one of the best offensive players in the NCAA, ranking in the top 5 in both points and assists per game. There are questions though about his health (he’s been injured for the past two years) and his defense.

Rumblings from the Mahendra coaching staff is that they love Nimes ability to create, which is something they sorely lacked last season at the wing positions.

As for NLEX, imagine adding him to a backcourt that may already include Alas, Thompson, and Baloria. Talk about having an NCAA All-star team!!!

Ceiling: Cyrus Baguio

Floor: Alex Nuyles

For the eleventh pick, the Alaska Aces select >>

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11. Alaska selects Glenn Khobuntin

Alaska is pretty set at every position and after making the Finals twice last season, they probably aren’t making to make any big moves. With that in mind, they’ll probably take the player who best FITS their team. There are still a number of bigger names on the board – Roi Sumang, Wetherell come to mind – but Khobuntin seems to be the most Alaska-like player on the team.

For one, he played under Coach Eric Altamirano in college, whose system is similar to that of Alaska in that they preach defense first. Khobuntin’s hard working attitude will also endear him to the Alaska coaching staff.

The biggest reason why they WOULDN’T pick him is that they already have Rome Dela Rosa at that position. After his solid play last conference, he looks like a keeper. Nevertheless, it’s never a bad thing to have too much of a good thing right?

Ceiling: Jireh Ibanes

Floor: Bitoy Omolon

For the twelfth pick, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters select >>

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12. Rain or Shine selects Kevin RacalNCAA 91 CSJL vs. AU- Racal

The Painters’ second pick of the draft. Similar to Alaska, they don’t have glaring holes in their roster (except having a dominant center, who aside from Ginebra and San Miguel Beer, who does?). They will also probably select a player who best embodies their team and I have a feeling that player may be Kevin Racal.

For one, he’s a big wing with a three point shot, so he’ll fit right in. Second, he played for Coach Caloy Garcia at Letran so he’s probably been scouted really well.

But with so many players on their lineup, we don’t know if they’ll actually be able to keep this pick.

Ceiling: Mac Baracael

Floor: Harold Arboleda
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FEU

Rose Vargas all set for UAAP return after four-season absence

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In an unprecedented move, hard-hitting Far Eastern University spiker Rose Vargas will return to finish her UAAP career when Season 80 kicks off on February 3 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Vargas last played for the Lady Tamaraws in Season 75. With a year of eligibility left, Vargas left the Morayta-based program to focus on her academics and pursue a career in the semi-pro ranks.

Five years since her last UAAP game, Vargas says that she did not hesitate when FEU officials asked if she wanted to return to play out her final year of eligibility.

During her time in the V-League, she played for the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors, the Bureau of Custom Transformers, and, most recently, the Creamline Cool Smashers.

“‘Yung pag-babalik naman dito (FEU) is hindi ko naman pinag-isipan matagal or nag-dalawang isip ako,” said the Season 74 Best Scorer. “Noong tinanong lang sa akin kung gusto ko daw bumalik, ang sagot ko lang, oo.

“Kasi gusto kong makatulong, and gusto kong makuha ‘yung championship namin na matagal ng hindi nakukuha ng FEU.”

Vargas adds to an already solid FEU core which includes graduating captain Bernadeth Pons, Toni Rose Basas, and Jerrili Malabanan.

The last time Vargas suited up for FEU, she was the main piece to a core that included Mari Toni Basas — Toni Rose’s older sister, a young Remy Palma, Gyzelle Sy, and Tin Agno.

Vargas now sees herself as more of a complimentary piece, the hardened veteran looking to guide FEU’s younger guns in a season where much if expected of them.

“Ngayon, nadagdagan siguro yung maturity and ko, pagiging veteran daw, sabi, na pwede ko mai-share din sa mga bata ‘yun, as a leader, as an ate,” added Vargas.

“Nako-contribute ko kung anong knowledge ang natutunan ko.”

League insiders are confident that Vargas, who turned 25-year-old on December 12 last year, will be declared eligible to play in Season 80. Although the UAAP is yet to have their eligibility meeting this week, a source closely monitoring the situation expressed confidence that Vargas will pass the league’s eligibility rules.

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Basketball

23 for 2023 cadet CJ Perez honored to help out Gilas

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Having had the chance to represent the Philippines in FIBA-sanctioned cagefests such the Asia Challenge Cup and the 3X3 All-Stars back in 2016, Lyceum Pirates star CJ Perez is no stranger to the international stage.

But the 24-year-old do-it-all swingman admits that he still gets overwhelmed whenever he sees his seniors — the stars and pillars of the program — in the team. “Nasusurprise [pa rin] ako,” he said. “Mga professionals eh.

“Na-istarstruck pa rin ako sa kanila.”

Perez said so when he finally made his return within Gilas’ realms last Monday night. The last time he was with the National Team was in August 2016, when the SBP built an amateur-laden batch of Gilas cagers that served as the transition from the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers squad to the 2017 SEABA team.

“Sobrang grateful ako (sa invitation),” said the talented six-foot-two guard, after practice at the Meralco Gym.

The reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player is back in the fold for Gilas as his name, along with young, up-and-coming stars, was included in the 23 for 2023 pool — a list of cagers projected to be the contingent for the Manila-hosted World Cup.

“Iniisip ko yun (FIBA World Cup 2023) simula magtawag sila ng practice. Actually nandoon na yung utak ko eh,” the Lyceum Pirate ace bared. “Kailangan ko lang mag work hard pa para makapasok dun sa lineup na yun, kahit malayo pa.

“It’s an honor para ma-represent yung country.”

Unlike in 2016, Perez graced the court and took part in drills with the veterans such as Gabe Norwood, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, among others. With those type of players around him, he feels that the lessons he can get will be limitless.

“Oo sobra. Kahit kanino naman (matututo ka talaga),” Perez shared. “(At tsaka) Dito parang more on sa mental. ‘Di na iniisip yung conditioning kasi may ibang teams naman sila so about sa mental toughness [talaga].”

For now, the 23 for 2023 cadets are already working out not just for familiarity, but also to help the seniors in preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this February.

“Sobrang happy and grateful na nakakatulong ako sa kanila kahit sa simpleng practice lang.”

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ABL

Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.

The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.

Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.

For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.

Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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Football

Brazilian football legend Zico to visit Manila

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Contributed photos

One of the best to ever play the Beautiful Game is coming to the Philippines. Zico, who electrified the footballing world in the ’70s and ’80s, is slated to visit Manila on the weekend of January 27.

The Brazilian, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is considered one of the best footballers in the world during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Zico starred for the Brazilian national team, scoring 48 goals in 71 appearances for the Selecao. In 1999, the attacking midfielder came 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in FIFA’s list of the world’s greatest living players.

Zico played for legendary Brazilian club Flamengo and also for the Italian Serie A team Udinese. He finished his playing career suiting up for Kashima Antlers in the J-League, the top tier of Japanese football, leading them to an unlikely runner-up finish.

The 64-year-old also had a successful managerial career, leading Turkey’s Fenerbahce, Greek team Olympiacos, and CSKA Moscow to titles. Zico was also in charge of the Japanese national team when they won the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. Because of that accomplishment, Zico is one of the most beloved football figures in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Seven Seas Properties, a company that promotes Philippine real estate and Philippine stocks in the Japanese market, is bringing the football icon here.

“We are delighted to welcome Zico to the Philippines. I’m sure he will give a big boost to the growing football scene here,” says Seven Seas Properties President Yukihiro Nishimura.

Zico will attend a CSR event with young footballers from underprivileged communities on Saturday, January 27. The following day, Sunday January 28, he will lead a football clinic for elite young players and coaches in the McKinley Hill stadium in Taguig. Football fans and media are welcome to watch this event, which kicks off at 2:00 pm. Admission is free.

Zico in Manila is also made possible by Otsuka – Solar Philippines, Inter Sports Partners, AgriNurture, and Primex.

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