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Sam Miguel

A Barrel of (D) Draft

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Let's take a look at how the various PBA D League teams did in the first-ever D League Draft over the weekend:

Round 1 ___

1. Cagayan - Moala Tautuaa, 6-7, 230 pounds, Forward-center

Tautuaa is an ASEAN Basketball League veteran who brings a lot of size and athleticism to a Cagayan squad sorely lacking both. However, he isn't exactly a classic low post big man, and likes to play from the outside going in. Fans will see shades of Kelly Williams and Jay Washington in him, but only shades. Still, he was far and away the consensus Number 1 choice as the top pick in this draft.

2. Tanduay - Chris Newsome, 6-2, 185 pounds, Swingman

Newsome is arguably the best all-around player in this draft, bringing a complete package of athletic ability and skill. He will probably play forward for Tanduay, the same position he plays for the Ateneo. "Siya talaga gusto kong kunin," declared Coach Lawrence Chongson. "Mas gusto ko 'yung speed and skill kesa sa size."

3. Cafe France-CEU - Arnold Van Opstal, 6-8, 235 pounds, Center

Van Opstal probably has the best combination of athleticism and size after Tautuaa, and Cafe France can certainly use a lot of that. He isn't exactly a high-skill player though, and will need the ball in the right spots to produce, but he does hit the boards hard and distracts opposing players with his height and length. "Management decision to get him," Coach Egay Macaraya simply said.

4. Cebuana Lhuillier - Norbert Torres, 6-6, 235 pounds, Center

Torres plays behind Van Opstal in Lasalle but is actually the more skilled and productive player between the two. Like Van Opstal though, Torres needs to get the ball in the right spots to produce, although he does have a bit more in terms of spot-up shooting from up to 15 feet, and has some nifty post moves inside. He'll be most valuable off both boards and helping on defense with his ability to block shots on the weak side.

5. Jumbo Plastic - Kris Rosales, 6-0, 175 pounds, Pointguard

Rosales made the news about a year ago when he was being seriously considered for the NBA's D League. He brings a complete package to the pointguard position for Jumbo but will probably find himself attacking and scoring more than setting the table for his team. Think of him right now as a poor man's Mike Cortez, or a bigger Roi Sumang.

6. M Builders-FEU - Anthony Hargrove, 6-6, 215 pounds, Forward-center

As a school tie-in, M Builders went for the FEU center to bolster their inside game. Hargrove is an athletic, hard worker type who hits the boards and gets some opportunistic baskets inside. He will be among familiar faces and that should make things a little easier for him in the D League.

7. Wangs - Rob Hainga, 6-5, 200 pounds, Forward-center

Hainga barely stirred on the UST roster over the last couple of years and is strictly a backup big man. He probably won't bring much for Wangs other than his 6-foot-5 frame and five fouls.

8. Racal/St Clare - Fabien Redoh, 6-3, 190 pounds, Forward

Redoh is a Cameroonian import and a mainstay for the St Clare Saints in the NAASCU. He will have to find a way to produce against much more talented and taller timber in the D League. Perhpas he can put his snappy mid-range jumper to good use here to open up the lanes.

9. Hapee/San Beda - Maverick Ahanmisi, 6-1, 190 pounds, Guard

Ahanmisi is a legit US NCAA Division 1 player who attended the University of Minnesota. Although he was an end-bench player for the Golden Gophers, he still put in time for a legit Division 1 program, the same program that produced NBA legend Kevin McHale. Ahanmisi might become a Sol Mercado-lite.

10. AMA - Zaldy Angeles, 5-11, 170 pounds, Swingman

Zaldy Angeles is another one of those high skill players strutting his stuff in a small league. He will be sorely tested in the D League environment.

11. MP Hotel - Wowie Escosio, 6-1, 180 pounds, Forward

Escosio helped the UV Green Lancers win the 2013 CESAFI title but was let go prior to this season due reportedly to a questionable attitude. There is no doubt as to his talent, with his ability to score and also help off the defensive boards. He will get a chance to show if he indeed has the big city game to back up his supreme self confidence.

12. Bread Story/Lyceum - John Azores, 5-9, 160 pounds, Guard

Yet another school-based pick, Azores was a mainstay of the Lyceum Pirates in the NCAA. He is a high skill player who does not really have an elite-level game to hang his hat upon. Look for him to help advance the ball against pressure and maybe provide some outside shooting.
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