Fastbeak’s Mock Draft for Gilas picks: Versatile Belo, Ferrer emerge as top choices
Two-time UAAP MVPs Kiefer Ravena and Rayray Parks would skip the PBA draft to pursue their NBA dreams, but the 2016 rookie class remains a deep pool of talent with 12 players from Gilas Pilipinas being available for the Special PBA draft.
We are seeing Mac Belo of reigning UAAP champion FEU, Kevin Ferrer of last year’s UAAP Finalist UST and Jio Jalalon of 2016 NCAA Finalist Arellano to land in the top three, but draft surprises are always there to watch out for.
Fastbreak writes down the possible scenario in the much-anticipated event happening on Oct. 30 at the Robinsons Midtown, first for the special draft where each team has the chance to pick one player from the 12-man Gilas pool, while retaining the regular first and second round drafts.
- Mac Belo – Blackwater Elite
The UAAP Season 78 Finals MVP is the projected top pick in this edition of the annual draft. Known to be a versatile player, Belo can shoot the ball from outside while also dominating the paint. With only Carlo Lastimosa doing the damage for Elite, he surely needs a reinforcement which Belo can provide.
- Kevin Ferrer – Star Hotshots
The departure of James Yap might be a deep hole for the former Grand Slam champion, unless they tap an all-around cager in Ferrer. The former Tiger has been one of the most impressive collegiate players that UST had produced in years. His expertise from the three-point line is one of his assets, but he can also drive and score a basket at will.
- Jio Jalalon – Phoenix Fuel Masters
For the NCAA standout, playing for the PBA was once just a dream. Jalalon defined the role of a point guard in a new level following his breakout performance in the oldest collegiate league this year. He led Arellano to the Finals this season with his hot shooting. His possible combo with explosive guard Cyrus Baguio will be one of the most exciting things to watch out in the All-Filipino conference.
- Arnold Van Opstal – Mahindra Enforcers
Mahindra almost had a good shot for the semifinals after a commendable start in the recently-concluded Governor’s Cup. But they failed to ride on the momentum in the playoffs and lost to eventual runner-up Meralco Bolts, and Van Opstal may be the missing piece in their underrated lineup. The former De La Salle University big man showed his improvement in the PBA D-League after deciding to forego his remaining playing year for the the Green Archers. LA Revilla, Mahindra’s star point guard, was once a teammate of Van Opstal so they would surely know how to win big games, having led La Salle to UAAP title in 2013.
- Russel Escoto- Globalport Batang Pier
Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo proved to be a lethal combo yet their efforts were not enough to lead the Batang Pier in the last six conferences to a championship. With the addition of JR Quiñahan and loss of Jay Washington, the Batang Pier needs a reliable forward who can contribute to defense while giving additional firepower. The former FEU Tamaraw and UAAP champion Escoto is a tailor-fit for them as he will buff up Globalport’s bigs led by Doug Kramer, Billy Mamaril and Yousef Taha.
- Matthew Wright – NLEX Road Warriors
He may not be as familiar like his competitors in this draft, but Wright can back up his ambition with his decorated resume. The 6’4 shooting guard once played for the Under-18 Philippine team and NCAA Division I in US. The Filipino-Canadian later on decided to bring his game to Malaysia where he played for the Westports Malaysia Dragongs in the 2016 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). His first season handed him an ASEAN Heritage MVP, thanks to his impressive stats of 23.1 points per game (ppg), 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per outing.
- Von Pessumal – Meralco Bolts
Pessumal has been a three-point shooter since his Ateneo High School days. For someone with that standout skill, it is not impossible that Pessumal will be reunited with his former college mentor Norman Black. With Pessumal on board, the Governor’s Cup second placers can indeed again make the Finals with a solid core of Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge and Jimmy Alapag.
- Mike Tolomia – Talk ‘N Text KaTropa
Defending Commissioner’s Cup winner Talk ‘N Text is eyeing for a redemption after their fluke performance last conference, and we will not be surprised if new head coach Nash Racela will get the services of his former FEU ward Tolomia. The PBA D-League Foundation Cup MVP spearheaded the Phoenix Accelerators to another crown in the tournament, where he averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 dishes per game.
- Fonzo Gotladera- Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
The annual title contender Elasto Painters lost Quñahan in a blockbuster trade with James Yap. They are known as a defensive squad throughout the years, so Gotladera might just be the one that Beau Belga needs to play with to protect the rim at all costs.
- Ed Daquioag – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel
Daquioag was a late bloomer but nevertheless impressed after he led UST to an 11-3 record in his last UAAP season for UST’s first top seed finish in more than a decade.With veterans Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguioa in their twilight years, Coach Time Cone will surely look for a scoring guard like Daquioag.
- Carl Bryan Cruz – Alaska Aces
Cruz merely played about 17 minutes a game in four seasons for FEU, where he is only making almost 5 points per match. Cruz decided not to use his final playing year and play for the PBA D-League defending champion Phoenix, something that should prepare him for tougher PBA battles
- Roger Pogoy – San Miguel Beermen
The departure of Terrence Romeo and RR Garcia in the FEU lineup gave Pogoy a time to prove his worth, which he did with a championship on his final playing year with the Tams. If given the chance, Pogoy can harness his skills with perennial title contender San Miguel Beermen.