2009 Rookie Rankings (the mid-Philippine Cup edition)

The 2009 Batch is a sad batch. Unlike last year’s draft, these rookies are barely standing out. Worse, the rookie that made the most impact is a rookie that was undrafted. Actually, THREE players in the list were undrafted!

Smart-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman called this right: Chris Tiu, Rabeh AL-Hussaini, Mark Barocca, and Dylan Ababou could be first rounders but I don’t think JV Casio, Aldrech Ramos, RJ Jazul, and Mac Baracael get the minutes since they’ll be late first rounders and the teams that don’t really need new blood are the ones picking in these spots. Greg Slaughter and Junmar Fajardo are prospects but they’ll probably become the next Yancy de Ocampo or Sam Eman.

Hell, I don’t think JR Cawaling, Magi Sison, and Jason Ballesteros will be drafted if they joined the draft. But hey, the exposure that Smart Gilas is giving them will be their edge.

Game starts now!

As of December 25, 2009, these guys fared the best league-wise.

Round Pick: Undrafted – Signed by Burger King
A mid-conference pick up, this journeyman is getting the time that Wynne Arboleda sacrificed for the fan beatdown.

Round Pick: Undrafted – Signed by Barako Bull
This former Letran Knight is getting the minutes for a team languishing at the cellar because they lack a dominating big man.

Round Pick: Second Round # 15 by Rain or Shine
Playing sparingly since the return of TY Tang and Sol Mercado from sickbay, a lot is expected when he steps in the court.

Round Pick: Second Round # 19 by Talk N Text (signed by Ginebra as a free agent)
Yes, he is trigger-happy and yes, he lacks court awareness but the experience he gained (with Jayjay Helterbrand and Celino Cruz out) will surely help in ripening his game.

Round Pick: First Round # 4 by Burger King (traded to Coke)
The Chris Ross we wanted is a spitfirish combo guard that could deal damage on both sides of the court. We have yet to see this guy.

Round Pick: First Round # 9 by Burger King
Japeth Aguilar’s change of heart made him BK’s top rookie. While inconsistent, he has shown that he can shine in the pros.

Round Pick: First Round # 5 by Rain or Shine
Cruz can score and rebound but he becomes a forgotten player in the bench when his lack of height makes Caloy Garcia opt for either Mike Hrabak or Mark Telan.

Round Pick: Undrafted – Signed by Sta. Lucia
The guy has scored 20 points twice and he has been able to help the Realtors when he is thrust in the spotlight. He seems like the lesser version of Ryan Reyes.

Round Pick: First Round # 7 by Barako Bull (via Sta. Lucia)
As the season progresses, people can see the “Ronald Tubid” in him. He is a streaky scorer and a gifted defender. He could be the key player of the Boosters when he learns to become consistent.

Round Pick: First Round # 3 by Purefoods
He is the top find in this year’s draft (with Japeth’s departure) but while he is showing flashes of brilliance, it will never be the “Rico Show” at the Giants camp. However, that SF spot in Purefoods is his for the taking since he is agile and quick for that position and he could double up as a chance PF/C also.

I said this draft class was weak when guys like Ford Arao, Lance Convento, Josh Vanlandingham, and the Smart-Gilas members skipped it. It didn’t help that aside from Aguilar, James Sena is out, living only seven first rounders leading the charge for their class. Aside from Sena, Edwin Asoro and PJ Walsham were left unsigned by their teams while other second rounders like Mark Benitez, Charles Waters, Sean Co (Alaska reserved list), and Orlando Daroya have yet to do any damage due to limited (for Co’s case “no”) court time. Round picks Mike Burtscher, Chris Timberlake, Benedict Fernandez, Francis Allera, and Jim Viray have had their moments but they are nowhere near marquee players.

While without a shadow of doubt, this batch fares better than the 2000 Draft class (a class overpowered by MBA free agents), this batch is also seen as one of the weakest in terms of immediate impact. And the next class? With the Smart-Gilas campaign taking the best finds, I don’t think Arao, Convento, Vanlandingham, Bam Gamalinda, Borgie Hermida, Elmer Espiritu, Nonoy Baclao, Hans Thiele, Khasim Mirza, Rudy Lingganay, Fham Bandaying, Pari Llagas, Giorgio Ciriacruz, John Wilson, Mark Caguco, Simon Atkins, Bader Malabes, and the other aspirants could create an impact in the big league.

But then again, I may be speaking too soon...

Just like me already hitting the nail on the coffin on the 2009 Batch.

Game over.

(PS: Come to think of it, I am in favor of having a third round in the draft. You see, while the subpar talents float in these regions, at least the fans can know the players that could make the PBA. I just don’t get the two-round setup where the drafted players drift away while the undrafted players get roster spots.)


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