PBA teams to go 'big' on Draft Day
SYDNEY – There is growing consensus among PBA teams that big men will be high in the coming PBA rookie draft, making Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang and Raymond Almazan the top three picks in the event set Sunday at Robinsons Place Manila.
Pro league officials, who have completed their annual summit at The Westin Hotel here, appeared keen on enlisting big men during draft day.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra and Barako Bull struck to their own trade deal, with the Kings acquiring the services of rookie guard Emman Monfort for veteran playmaker Rob Labagala.
In a random survey PBA officials agreed that Slaughter, Sangalang and Almazan will be the top choices. The guessing game is whose names will be called next from the 82 other players who joined the draft pool.
In another development, the exit of coach Rajko Toroman from Barako Bull had somehow altered the pre-season manpower buildup for the team as they reportedly plan to deal any of their picks (Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in the first round) in the floor on draft day.
Before being terminated, Toroman was considering Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Jeric Teng and James Forrester for their three first-round picks.
Sources said a done deal is Globalport’s acquisition of Barako’s No. 6 pick for veteran guard Denok Miranda. And Petron Blaze and Barangay Ginebra are said to be interested in Barako’s two other first-round choices.
Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee have two first-round picks, and team officials Mert Mondragon and Rene Pardo have said they might also deal away their second choices.
“Coach Yeng Guiao is looking at Almazan for the No. 3 pick. For the No. 9 pick, coach Yeng may deal it on the floor if there’s no more available talent suited for our need,” said Mondragon.
“We’re already loaded with 13 veterans, then Sangalang will come in as our No. 2 pick. For our next pick (10th overall), we’re likely to get a guard or a wing guy, or trade it for future draft rights,” said Pardo.
Though insisting they haven’t made a choice, the Ginebra management and coaching staff are expected not to pass up on the opportunity to enlist 7-foot-1 behemoth Slaughter – the tallest player to come from the draft since EJ Feihl in the early 90s. He’s the first No. 1 selection joining Ginebra since Marlou Aquino in 1996.
Romeo, Garcia, Teng and Forrester are also tipped to go high on the drafting order whatever happens to Barako’s draft rights.
Globalport is said to be so interested in Teng that’s why the Mikee Romero-owned franchise is acquiring Barako’s No. 6 pick.
At No. 7, Alaska Milk is likely to tab former ace Ateneo wing man Nico Salva.
Other prospective top picks are Fil-Am Isaac Holstein, JR Cawaling, Justin Chua, Alex Nuyles, Eric Camson, Ryan Buenafe, Robbie Celiz, Jeric Fortuna and JP Erram.
Darwin Cordero, an exciting guard from Zamboanga, could be a draft steal.
The complete draft order in the first round is Ginebra, San Mig Coffee, Rain or Shine, Barako Bull, Barako Bull, Barako Bull, Globalport, Alaska Milk, Rain or Shine and San Mig Coffee.