Palawan, as expected, the top 3 picks in this year’s Philippine Basketball Association Annual Rookie Draft were spot on as most predicted.
Lyceum’s CJ Perez landed with the Columbian Dyip, National University’s Bobby Ray Parks was selected by Blackwater (note that Blackwater may not necessarily be Parks’ official team pending a trade request to Meralco), and San Beda’s Robert Bolick signed up for the NorthPort Batang Pier.
For me, the biggest draft day surprise was actually the University of the Philippines’ Paul Desiderio being picked by NLEX as 4th pick overall. It was a gamble that NLEX took because they had a bigger plan in mind… packaging the 4th and 7th pick (NLEX chose La Salle big man Mo Tratter) in exchange for Blackwater center, JP Erram (as of this writing, still pending PBA approval).
I believe there are 3 potential sleepers in this draft:
* San Beda’s blue collar hard working forward Javee Mocon: selected 6th overall by Rain or Shine. A bruiser and role player that can mesh with the Elasto Painters style of play
* San Sebastian’s Michael Calisaan: selected by Magnolia as the 10th pick overall. Tall, Slender and can play the 2, 3 and 4 positions for the Hotshots
* Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIPs) Jorey Napoles. Actually, very much similar to Michael Calisaan. This guy selected 12th overall, was under the radar but if a coach like Louie Alas gets his nod, I am quite certain that this talented kid will immediately contribute to the Phoenix Fuel Master’s cause
There are still numerous discussions about trades, movements, and free agent contract signings everywhere so please standby as we get to see how the teams’ shape up this offseason.
Hot off the press… the Magnolia Hotshots beat the Alaska Aces on December 19 to bag the season-ending PBA 2018 Governor’s Cup 4 games to 2. The championship may not have lasted 7 games but the series was really played well with both teams evenly matched. Kudos to coaches Chito Victolero and Alex Compton for a series well played.
You know, I had the privilege to watch both these coaches at their prime when they were still playing professional ball in the Metropolitan Basketball Associate (MBA) in the late ‘90s.
I recall Victolero as a tough point guard/ playmaker for the San Juan Knights (and the Mapua Cardinals in the NCAA) often setting up Chris Calaguio for long distance bombs and feeding Bonel Balingit and Omanzi Rodriguez down low.
Compton played for the Manila Metrostars and had the luxury of a big dominant post presence in Rommel Adducul. Alex was a scoring guard back then and a good playmaker too.
Both coaches may not have been able to make their own mark in the PBA as players but they definitely found a way to carve a name for themselves in the field of coaching.
The MBA product
Just a small bit of trivia folks… among 12 head coaching posts in the PBA today, 6 have had experience playing or coaching in the MBA: Magnolia’s Victolero, Alaska’s Compton, Blackwater’s Bong Ramos (Batangas Blades), Columbian Dyip’s Johnedel Cardel (Negros Slashers), Talk n Text’s Bong Ravena (Pasig Pirates), and Phoenix Fuel’s Louie Alas (Manila Metrostars). For some of us who have witnessed the emergence of this home and away from the professional league, their product was a huge success drawing crowds with their entertaining style of ball with regional affinity and heart. Let’s see how the fledgling Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) take this regional format to newer heights.
‘Tis the season folks! Amidst the busy life of schooling, work, and sports, it’s that time of the year, the holiday season, the season to reflect. Make the most of the vacation time with family and loved ones. Happy Holidays, Palawan!
(The writer is a senior leader of the only Business Process Outsourcing Contact Center company in Puerto Princesa. He also is the current Puerto Princesa Underground River Festival Foundation President)
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