Sydman's Official 2009 PBA Draft Predictions

BY THE WAY: Arwind Santos was traded to the San Miguel Beermen for Marc Pingris, Ken Bono, and a future draft pick. Pingris won’t stay as a Whopper though as BK plans him to move back to Purefoods. The BK management is hoping Purefoods will give them a better player in return.

Analysis: Look at the bigger picture here: Sure, Bono averaged 3.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in two seasons in the PBA… try playing in one team that doesn’t respect rookies and another team that’s overloaded with talent. The Spiderman will play in a title-hungry squad but expect his MVP runner-up days be over!

Uh yes… the stronger payroll gets more top players that they could fit in their payroll while the poor franchises get poorer talent. The Barako Bull now is like the Shell franchise before they folded… reports flashed that the franchise has dealt Larry Rodriguez to Burger King and Jeff Chan to Rain or Shine (for 35-something vet Rob Wainwright and hottie Mark Andaya).

Gabby Espinas… you’re next!

Anyway… Initially, I included some names that would have bolstered the draft like Terrell Theophile, Josh Vanlandingham, Lance Convento, Ford Arao, and Jason Ballesteros. These guys are now out of the draft… which makes the depth seriously pathetic. The draft includes a lot of college players who would either freeze at the sight of their idols and would think that they are not worthy to play in this league while some of the Fil-Ams will strut their stuffs because they’ll think they’re better than the rest of the league only to find out that a career other than basketball is their safest bet for glory. As Chrisangelo pointed out, Convento will not join the draft which kind of bugs me because he’ll be “too old”. Same goes for Ford Arao. Other Fil-Ams messed up their papers. It seems like this is the trend every draft.

Imagine if Rob Reyes came in the Draft of 07 instead of last season’s draft… he could have been a marquee player now instead of being some bench guy in TNT.

Anyway, time to play the game!


1. Burger King – Japeth Aguilar (Western Kentucky; Ateneo)

We saw how good he is. He’s visibly raw but he leaps high, provides inside presence especially on the defensive end, and America gave him a semblance of offense. I am guessing that someone should throw a BK exec to a bridge if they trade Japeth for losers because his name is marquee at this point.

2. Shell – (forfeited)

3. Purefoods – Chris Ross (Marshall)

It could have been a hit or miss selection between Ross and Maierhofer. But with the pending trade that will give the Giants Marc Pingris, Ross will take the cake. I am guessing they’ll pick Ross to quench their eagerness to acquire a player that could either be a SF or a PG. Ross will give the Giants another backcourt scoring option.

4. Burger King – Rico Maierhofer (La Salle)

It’s a tossup between the 2 UAAP bigs. Maierfhofer gets the nod here because he has the ability to become a small forward because of frame and leaping ability. Think of him as the OTHER Arwind Santos in the PBA. Although… this pick could be great trade bait for the offense-hungry Giants… assuming they want to dispatch their underutilize vets.

5. Rain or Shine – Jervy Cruz (Santo Tomas)

Like I said, this is a great pick for ROS because yes, they got the best talent available and yes, they got the player that they need. At least with his entry, they won’t have to defend on shooter Allan Salangsang to be their backup center. For UST fans, they hope that Jervy Cruz won’t become the next Marvin Ortiguerra… and be the next Dennis Espino.

6. Alaska – Chris Timberlake (North Florida)

Remember the 2003 Draft where Alaska traded their tenth pick to TNT for Don Camaso that ended up to be Jimmy Alapag? Now with Kevin White in the draft, will the nephew cash in the nod that the uncle failed in getting, which is to play in Alaska? Well… NO. I rated Timberlake in the second round because there were a lot of quality big men in the draft, which is what the teams need at this moment. However, with Theophile and Vanlandingham’s withdrawal (or missing the deadline), the Oracle PG will come in handy. Despite the Aces’ intention to get a quality “big”, after Cruz, nothing else follows with marquee potential. LA Tenorio needs to have a backup and Timberlake could be that guy (actually if look at it, Tenorio’s minutes are plenty because Alaska has no PG relievers).

By the way, I think I saw him visit my unofficial mock draft. There is a way for him to move up, but that would mean him averaging 20 points and 10 assists with a 60 percent clip and 1tpg in the rookie camp. But even that splurge is good for only the Purefoods pick.

7. Sta. Lucia – Ronnie Matias (Manila)

Last year the Realtors picked up a slew of big men that basically hovered around in their bench. Matias is a notch higher than past draftees Kelvin Gergorio and Chito Jaime and is in the mold of Larry Rodriguez. The former UM forward will definitely flourish in a team lacking on offensive bigs. By the way, I mistook Matias in my unofficial draft as a slasher. I deeply apologize from that blunder.

8. Ginebra – Edwin Asoro (National)

Like I said, Ginebra needs a scoring big man and while James Sena is a candidate, Sena is not as pro-ready as Asoro. Asoro has swagger, a powerful first step, and a glide that could give the Kings another exciting player in their stable. Like I said, he reminds me of Nelson Asaytono and Don Camaso in their heydays so that is a big plus to this King NU Bulldog.

9. Burger King – Ogie Menor (San Beda)

As I said in my earlier mock draft, Menor is Ronald Tubid without the ego (he’ll likely acquire this two or three years of tenure). His defense is great, he knows how to make himself useful, and have you seen his hair? He could pull off a Mohawk… and he could pretty much pull off a Yeng Guiao-dictated “hard” foul.

10. San Miguel – Jobe Nkemakolam (Ateneo)

Its hard to put a name in this spot. Even if the Santos trade opened a spot for a rookie, you have to know that the rookie that will be picked will ride the SMB bench until the vets retire… or if his contract is done. Bono however was a PF and since Santos and Pingris cancelled each other out, the former Ateneo forward that played well in the finals will unfortunately be the season’s sacrificial lamb for the SMB franchise.

11. Red Barako Bull – James Sena (Jose Rizal)

Is this franchise still breathing? With all the trades they did, it’s a wonder that they have the money to even present their selves in the draft. Now that their future has been squandered (i.e. Chan, Rodriguez, Sharma), Sena could be a great player to acquire here (assuming he’s still available). But seriously… the league needs a talent check because it seems like the Bulls are purposely making their team weak so that the buyer would have to start from scratch in building the team. So much for the rant, a reason why he’s down in the second round is because the league had three unsuccessful NCAA to PBA crossovers (2007 – Yousif Aljamal, 2008 – Pong Escobal and Kelvin dela Pena).

12. Sta. Lucia – Marcy Arellano (East)

The Realtors could use a point guard with shooting and the UE star guard may be the answer. SLR is full of defensive guards but they seem to lack the scorers. Arellano could be used well here with Christian Coronel doing pinch hit jobs, Denok Miranda barely scoring, and Paolo Mendoza getting more ineffectual.

13. Red Barako Bull – Kevin White (California Junior College place... aka Jimmy Alapag's nephew)

Turning 26 this year, he hopes his genes will be enough for him to score a great spot in the rankings. While I hope he will, the nephew of Jimmy Alapag played a conference for Mail and More but his presence was hardly noticed. “Random team that would be leaving soon” will likely get a combo guard in their lineup with offensive abilities. White could be that guy? That remains to be seen.

14. Burger King – Orlando Daroya (Arellano)

While I doubt that this trade will still be available (PASS! PASS!), Daroya is in the mold of Mark Yee and Erick Rodriguez. The best part however in his game is that he is a big bulky man that could hit shots when able. Yes, he plays in the SG/SF position in the NCRAA but at 6’4, he is one of those players that could pretty much defend well against power forwards and under.

15. Rain or Shine – Roel Hugnatan (Adamson)

Ahh yes… the brother to brother team up… everyone wants that right? Not me. First of all, Reynel will eat Roel’s minutes. Also, Roel’s future would be better outside the rookie-ravaging Alaska camp. Roel is a bruiser, plus I am guessing he could be an excellent import stopper. If the Painters gets height, and these height guys get experience… they’ll be unstoppable.

16. Alaska – Dino Daa (Letran)

Hey! The moment ROS punks the Aces and takes the bro of their player, the Aces should take vengeance and seize the bro of the next team’s player. Yes, Daa might not be a player that will enjoy 30mpg for the Aces but they’ll lean on him at some point because he’s a utility guy that could be the next Merwin Castelo (with size that is).

17. Sta. Lucia – Francis Allera (Sto. Tomas)

Allera is one of those players that plays better in the PBL than in the UAAP. A hybrid, he can depend inside the paint and at the same time could provide clutch baskets outside the two-point range. While his ability to transform his game to the pros is limited, he could be the draft’s stunner if he’s picked by a team that lacks bench depth.

18. Ginebra – Benedict Fernandez (Far Eastern)

Ginebra will again pick a player that is fast and is SG/SF because at this moment, no big man could stand out. While I love Fernandez to be sent to Coke, its likely that a trade needs to happen so that Fernandez could blossom. Anyway, Ginebra likes players that could excite the crowd and at the same time as a long range arsenal. He’s not that effective on defense so that is one of the facets he needs to improve upon.

19. TNT – Mark Benitez (La Salle)

Remember the controversial forward that rid La Salle of a championship? Yup, he’s that guy! While most draftees at this point would do better by going undrafted, Benitez is something that TNT needs: a power forward . He’ll either stand side-by-side with Gilbert Lao (if he is still employed)… or massage Frankie Lim’s back wearing street clothes as a practice player. Do I hate him? No. He could be a good person. But for making the Archers give up their trophy… even if he’s also a mere victim… that kind of sucks especially in the respect area.

20. Burger King – Pass

I like to say Sean Co, the son of the former Great Taste forward Sunny Co, who played for Mapua in the NCAA and Pharex in the recent PBL conference, but let’s face it, Yeng Guiao has 17 holdovers and 5 draft picks this season. Anyway, if BK draft someone, I hope he sticks (I also this pick would be traded).

Players to Watch: Jim Viray, Charles Waters, Josh Urbiztondo, Jorel Canizares, Floyd Dedicatoria, Ian Saladaga, PJ Walsham, Jemal Vizcarra, Brian Faundo, Allan Evangelista, Rob Lagabala, and Chris Viardo.

There are some players like Jim Viray, Ian Saladaga and Josh Urbiztondo who are good players but aren’t considered as “drafting” material. I doubt if the trend will continue where the UAAP guys get more placing than the NCAA guys but we need to remind people that a lot of players like Mark Yee, Erick Rodriguez, Chad Alonzo, Dino Daa, Reed Juntilla, Don Dulay, and Al Vergara came to the league and earned a career despite not getting drafted.

In short, the draft is more of bragging material.

Coke owns no draft picks. Surely, they’ll be hoping to cash in on new blood.

Will my prediction prove spot on?

Tune in to the draft this August 2, thru Market! Market! or at CS9.

Until then, GAME OVER!


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