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  1. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted! (Part IV)

    Now let us take a look at how each team fared in the draft. First we compiled all of the draft picks taken by each team. Second, please note that we will not factor in if the team gained other players through trades. We will look only at the overall quality of the draft haul, as well as the individual players taken by each team.

    Barangay Ginebra - Greg Slaughter, James Forrester, John Usita, Alvin Padilla, Jens Knuttel

    Getting the 7-foot Slaughter was a no-brainer regardless of who was actually picking first overall in this draft. Ginebra already had a premiere big man before in Marlou Aquino and enjoyed great franchise success. Slaughter is a modern version of the original Skyscraper. Forrester remains an eyebrow-raiser what with all of the other, more polished, and more productive swingman-types still available at Number 4. Usita is another enigma and a likely project, but a huge one at 6-foot-8 and some 300 pounds. Padilla and Knuttel will most likely end up as practice players.

    Grade: A

    San Mig Coffee - Ian Sangalang, Justin Chua, Justin Melton, JR Cawaling

    Across the board the Mixers got arguably the most talented, polished and ready haul of players in this draft. Sangalang and Chua are college champions who know how to play and bring expansive skill sets to the 5/4 positions. Melton is a superb athlete at the pointguard spot who will need at most a year to a year and a half to acclimate to the PBA. Cawaling is a long, tall athlete with above-average perimeter skills; just don't make him guard Buenafe when San Mig plays Alaska.

    Grade: A

    Rain or Shine - Raymond Almazan, Alex Nuyles, Jeric Teng, Gayford Rodriguez, Ervic Vijandre

    Both Almazan and Nuyles are superb PBA-grade athletes at their respective positions and are ready to play right away. Teng will get his entire cotnract period to prove himself. Rodriguez and Vijandre could blossom into surprise packages under Yeng Guiao but will more likely end up as practice players.

    Grade: B+

    Barako Bull - Jeric Fortuna, Carlo Lastimosa, Darwin Cordero, Jet Vidal, Mike Silungan

    Lord only knows how much Ramon S Ang on the corporate side had to do with the draft day and pre-draft trades that led to this egregious draft haul for the Energy Cola. Lastimosa and Cordero have PBA-level talent and athletic ability but could sputter in this long-toxic environment. Fortuna, Vidal and Silungan will have to fight tooth and nail for contracts.

    Grade: D

    Global Port - Terrence Romeo, RR Garcia, Isaac Holstein, Nico Salva, Jopher Custodio, LA Revilla

    Talk about a youth movement. Team owner Michael Romero certainly brought in a good haul with this draft. They may not be quite as high-impact as the Top 3 but they can certainly play right away. It should be interesting to see though who between Garcia and Salva will punch Romeo first during practice. Coach Junel Baculi's blood pressure and well-coiffed hair will be worth watching throughout the season. Custodio and Revilla have better than even chances of getting contracts too.

    Grade: B+

    Talk 'N Text - JP Erram, Robby Celiz, Elliud Poligrates, Chris Sumalinog, Byron Villarias

    Bereft of any chance at landing any of the top tier talent, TNT took in players that at least they can use. Erram and Sumalinog reunite with their old Ateneo Coach Norman Black and Manager Paolo Trillo. The hot-shooting Celiz played against them in the UAAP. Villarias was with NLEX and thus has an MVP connection. Poligrates made a name for himself in the PBA D League where he had memorable matches against Villarias. Still, none of these guys are sure star material.

    Grade: C

    Air 21 - Eric Camson, Joshua Webb, Angelo Ingco, Randolph Chua

    Other than Camson none of the Express picks seem to possess PBA-level talent or skill. Webb is a great athlete with good size for a perimeter player but does not quite have the high skill set required at the position for the PBA. Ingco and Chua won't even get a practice contract. Well... maybe Ingco.

    Grade: C

    Alaska - Ryan Buenafe, Chris Exciminiano, Raymond Ilagan

    Reports have it that it was assistant coach Topex Robinson who lobbied, and lobbied hard, for the Aces to pick the star-crossed Buenafe. Playing in the Alaska Triangle should come easily to the high-IQ Buenafe. His physical conditioning however remains a key concern, as does his perimeter shooting. Exciminiano and Ilagan will become practice players.

    Grade: C+

    Petron - Sam Marata, Nate Matute

    Both of these guys will be seen in Petron blue polo shirts or shirt-jacks seated directly behind the Petron bench at the Patron section. They will be expected to clap for good plays and boo bad ...
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    Philippine Basketball
  2. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted! (Part III)

    There was a good crowd at the Robinson's Place Manila for the 2013 PBA Draft. 44 out of the 84 rookie applicants were picked through seven rounds of drafting. While Rounds 1 and 2 went just about as expected, there were still a few surprises, and we will be grading teams in the next column.

    Meanwhile here is the complete list of who went where:

    Round 1

    1. Barangay Ginebra - Greg Slaughter
    2. San Mig Coffee - Ian Sangalang
    3. Rain or Shine - Raymond Almazan
    4. Ginebra - (from Barako Bull for Rico Maeirhofer and Willie Wilson) James Forrester
    5. Global Port - (from Petron for Yousif Taha) Terrence Romeo
    6. Global Port - (from Barako Bull for Denok Miranda) RR Garcia
    7. Global Port - Isaac Holstein
    8. Alaska - Ryan Buenafe
    9. Rain or Shine - Alex Nuyles
    10. San Mig Coffee - Justin Chua

    Round 2

    11. Global Port - Nico Salva
    12. Rain or Shine - Jeric Teng
    13. San Mig - Justin Melton
    14. Barako Bull - Jeric Fortuna
    15. Talk 'N Text - (from Alaska) JP Erram
    16. Air 21 - Eric Camson
    17. Talk N Text - Robby Celiz
    18. Alaska - Chris Exciminiano
    19. Rain or Shine - Gayford Rodriguez
    20. Barako Bull - Carlo Lastimosa

    Round 3

    21. Air 21 - Joshua Webb
    22. Global Port - Jopher Custodio
    23. Barako Bull - Darwin Cordero
    24. Global Port - LA Revilla
    25. Petron - Sam Marata
    26. Meralco - Anjo Caram
    27. Talk'N Text - Elliud Poligrates
    28. Alaska - Raymond Ilagan
    29. Rain or Shine - Ervic Vijandre
    30. San Mig Coffee - JR Cawaling

    Round 4

    31. Air 21 - Angelo Ingco
    32. Barako Bull - Jet Vidal
    33. Barangay Ginebra - John Usita
    34. Petron - Nate Matute
    35. Meralco - Michael Parala
    36. Talk N Text - Chris Sumalinog

    Round 5

    37. Air 21 - Randolph Chua
    38. Barako Bull - Mike Silungan
    39. Barangay Ginebra - Alvin Padilla
    40. Meralco - Mark Lopez
    41. Talk N Text - Byron Villarias

    Round 6

    42. Barangay Ginebra - Jens Knuttel
    43. Meralco - Ron Guevarra

    Round 7

    44. Meralco - Mark Bringas
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  3. PBA Preseason Tournament in Cebu City

    A four-team pocket tournament that will feature three professional clubs from the Philippine Basketball Association will be held at the tradition-steeped Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City from November 7-9.

    Seeing action in the CFBJ Cup are reigning Commissioner’s Cup titlist Alaska, Barako Bull and Globalport from the PBA and CM Farm Tagum City (Davao).

    The three-day event, which is being organized by the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists, will serve as a PBA preseason tournament as the 39th renewal of the PBA competitions will get underway on Sunday, November 17, with a three-game bill to start the Philippine Cup in key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

    Sister teams San Mig Coffee, which beat sister team Petron Blaze in a seven-game thriller during the Governors Cup finals last month, will make its 2013-14 season debut against another sister club, Barangay Ginebra, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

    Talk ‘N Text, which is bidding to capture its fourth consecutive All-Filipino crown, will clash with sister club Meralco at the newly-renovated Cebu Coliseum. The Tropang Texters swept Rain or Shine, 4-0, in last season’s Philippine Cup finals.

    In Davao City, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters will open their season against the Alaska Aces, who defeated Barangay Ginebra, 3-0, in the best-of-three Commissioner’s Cup finals last May.

    Barako Bull and Globalport seek to turn around their fortunes in the upcoming PBA season. The Energy Boosters and Batang Pier finished in the lower half of the 10-team standings in Season 38.

    Meanwhile, CM Farm, which is owned by Virginia Allones and Mario Bantillan, is composed of ex-PBA players Ardy Larong, Mark Andaya and Jercules Tangkay, Glenn Bolocon (one-time Liga Pilipinas MVP), Ferdinand Lusdok and Vani Aguilar, Cameroon recruits Arnavd Noah, Douglas Njapa and Ahmed Salihov and four players from the recently-crowned Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (CESAFI) champion University of the Visayas – 2013 Universiade veterans John Abad and Hernal Escosio (the 2012 CESAFI Rookie of the Year and MVP awardee) and Cameroonian imports Steve Akomo and Jean (Anaconda) Mpouma.

    Head coach of CM Farm is Van Halen Parmis, the UV Lancers assistant coach who is known as the Panalay King in the Queen City of the South.
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  4. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted! (Part II)

    Second round picks usually mean teams are trying to fill roster gaps at best, although some second round surprises do happen (like Ato Agustin). For the most part though, guys picked here will have to fight hard for a regular roster spot.

    SECOND ROUND:

    11. GlobalPort Batang Pier

    Needs - Backup big man

    Likely pick - Isaac Holstein. Holstein didn't see much action in his one and only D League conference, but he's still a legit 6-foot-9 and can play; he led the league with over two block per game. He will need to get bulkier and stronger to stick in the pros though. If the Batang Pier are patient enough, he could form a potent partnership up front with another young and lean big man in Yousef Taha.

    12. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Alternate pointguard

    Likely pick - Justin Melton. Melton tested well athletically in the draft combine, and some scouts are already comparing him to recent FIBA Asia hero Jayson Castro. At the very least he is a highly athletic and legit pointguard who can finally take pressure off Lee, Tiu and TY Tang. Melton however needs to work on his jumpshooting to prevent defenses from clogging his driving lanes.

    13. San Mig Coffee Mixers

    Needs - More youth up front

    Likely pick - JP Erram. Erram had a terrible last year as an amateur, playing through various injuries in UAAP Season 76. But he is still a legit 6-foot-7 and partnering with a strong and skilled Sangalang as a rookie should serve him in good stead. He won't be expected to play major minutes right away anyway, what with De Vance, Reavis and Yancy De Ocampo all still good for anywhere from two to four more years.

    14. Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - After all the trades, plenty

    Likely pick - Eric Camson. Camson played 4/3 in college at 6-foot-2, but made up for his lack of size with a good stroke all the way out to three-point range. If Leo Austria, his coach in college, gets the job vacated by Toroman as some reports say, Camson's entry into the PBA will indeed be an auspicious one.

    15. Air 21 Express*

    Needs - A solid pointguard

    Likely pick - Jeric Fortuna. With Melton likely going earlier, Fortuna is the next best bet at pointguard still available. He's barely 5-foot-7, but his experience in both the D League and the ASEAN League are invaluable. Plus Fortuna is one of the best long-range shooters in the country. He'll get kickout opportunities thanks to Mac Cardona.

    16. Alaska Aces*

    Needs - Backup shooter / scorer

    Likely pick - Rob Celiz. Celiz boosted his draft stock tremendously with a strong showing in the last D League Finals where his Blackwater Elite upset and ended the dynasty of the NLEX Road Warriors. He's a tall shooter at a bit over 6-foot-2, and knows how to shoot off his own dribble. He can help keep defenses honest coming off the bench.

    17. Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters

    Needs - Quality youth, everywhere

    Likely pick - Ryan Buenafe. At this point in the draft it would be safe to pick the enigmatic and star crossed swingman. Perhaps a reunion with his college coach Norman Black would be just what the doctor ordered for both their careers. Buenafe however still has to convince the PBA Powers that he had a legitimate excuse for missing the draft combine, supposedly because of the flu. Black has seen this before with Buenafe and would not be averse to taking in his old star.

    18. Alaska Aces

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - JR Cawaling. Cawaling never really lived up to the promise when he was named UAAP Rookie of the Year over a half-decade ago. In his one trip to the UAAP Finals in 2010 a rotund and out of shape Buenafe made a monkey out of him as the Ateneo went on to win what was their third straight UAAP championship. He barely stirred on the San Miguel Beer ABL roster just this past conference. Still, he is a long and athletic 6-foot-3 swingman with very good skills and a one-time Gilas national team player. Maybe being an understudy to Baguio for a few years will do him some good.

    19. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - Mark Lopez. Lopez was one of the best players on a UP squad that was just terrible the whole time he was there. Still, he's a 6-foot guard with a lean, strong body and complete skills. Said skills are not of course all star level, but at this point in the draft, you take anybody who has at least had experience with real organized ball. Lopez might be good enough to finally rid the PBA of Jonathan Uyloan.

    20. Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Quality backup anything

    Likely pick - Mike Silungan. ...
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  5. Gadzooks! I've Been Drafted!

    In one of our previous columns I presented both the applicants and the order of picking for the 2013 PBA Draft to be held this Sunday. Let's now take a look at how teams will most likely pick.

    Word to the wise though: the first three picks should be set in stone, with the three local big men going the earliest. Also, it seems Barako Bull traded away its picks at Number 4 and Number 5 overall. Picking at Number 4 will be Barangay Ginebra, then Petron at Number 5.

    FIRST ROUND:

    1. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings, backup pointguard

    Likely pick - Greg Slaughter. Really a no-brainer regardless of who was picking Number 1 overall. Slaughter is seven feet tall and some 260 pounds. He learned a lot playing for Norman Black at the Ateneo and nearly two years under Rajko Toroman at the Gilas national team. He will form a towering frontline with 6-foot-9 Japeth Aguilar and 6-foot-7 JR Reyes, and this trio is young enough to play together effectively for at least the next 4-5 years.

    2. San Mig Coffee Mixers

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings

    Likely pick - Ian Sangalang. Sangalang has shown throughout his amateur career that he is arguably the most skilled homegrown big man today. He rebounds well, blocks shots, helps and recovers quickly, and has all the big man scoring tricks from turnaround jumpers to jump hooks to elbow jumpers. He will get plenty of tutoring from veterans Rafi Reavis, Joe De Vance and newly-minted Finals MVP Marc Pingris.

    3. Rain or Shine ElastoPainters

    Needs - Big man, pointguard

    Likely pick - Raymund Almazan. Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao has already unequivocally stated many times that ROS will pick the best available big man at Number 3. Almazan in fact worked out with the Elasto Painters over the summer. He will bring legitimate size and athleticism to a frontline that has plenty of bulk and toughness but little by way of height and athleticism. He can only get tougher practicing everyday with Beau Belga, JR Quinahan, Larry Rodriguez and Jervy Cruz.

    4. Ginebra via Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Big man, scoring help from the wings, backup pointguard

    Likely pick - James Forrester. Our sources said that the Gins were actually interested in using this pick on reigning UAAP MVP Terrence Romeo. But with Emman Monfort coming (traded for Rob Labagala, approval still pending as of this writing), they have an able pointguard prospect to back up LA Tenorio. Forrester should therefore address their other need: scoring help at the wings, which is why they are likely going to get the Filipino-Canadian out of Toronto. Why on earth they'd take Forrester over say the slightly more polished Alex Nuyles however boggles the mind.

    5. Petron via Barako Bull Energy Cola

    Needs - Backup big man for either or both the 4 and 5 spots

    Likely pick - Justin Chua. Petron gave away backup center Magi Sison and forward Mark Isip to get this pick. They also traded backup pointguard Dennis Miranda to try and get Chris Ross from Global Port. That means they suddenly became a shorter but faster team. Still, they need some insurance up front and a reliever for June Mar Fajardo. Chua, a bulky throwback-type big man, might be a surprise pick in the first round with this development. Although the way San Miguel teams are wheeling and dealing, the Boost Blazers might yet select one of the FEU gunners.

    6. Barako Bull Energy Cola (might become Global Port)

    Needs - Quality youth, desperately

    Likely pick- Terrence Romeo. Once again Barako is giving away draft picks and a chance to get younger for what should be a chance to win more immediately with veterans. Dylan Ababou, Mark Isip and Magi Sison are headed Barako's way (approval pending as of this writing). It might have been a Gilas reunion of sorts had Rajko Toroman not been suddenly given his walking papers. Romeo will be handed the keys right away but he can't be hogging the ball as a rookie pointguard or the veterans will will beat some sense into him.

    If this is Global Port's pick though, Romeo will find a more welcoming home.

    7. GlobalPort Batang Pier

    Needs - Scoring from the perimeter

    Likely pick - Jeric Teng. Teng will get every chance, and every shot, to prove he belongs in the PBA. Gary David is gone, and apparently Chris Ross has not even attended a Batang Pier practice. Enter Teng, the man who blossomed into a go-to scorer for the Santo Tomas Tigers, fresh off back-to-back Finals in the UAAP. Global Port has repeatedly expressed their interest in him and now have a legit shot at getting him.

    8. Alaska Aces

    Needs - Backup big man, off ...
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