Looking at the first round of the 2021 PBA

Looking at the first round of the 2021 PBA

MANILA, Philippines – Finally, some excitement in the pro loop. The Philippine Basketball Association held its draft with a lot of big college names and hopefuls looking to make the precious roster slots of 12 squads.

Teams went for size in the first round and all-around ability. Let’s size them up.

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Joshua Munzon (1st overall, Terra Firma)

We first saw this 6’4” Long Beach, California native with the Saigon Heat and the Westport Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League, and then the 3×3 circuit. What we like about him is he does a lot of things on the court and is a workhorse.

Everywhere he’s been — from the Cal State Golden Eagles to the ABL to the 3×3 circuit and D-League — Munzon has shown he can score, rebound, pass the ball, and play defense.

He is a massive pick for Terra Firma.

Jaime Malonzo (2nd, NorthPort)

In his one-and-done stint with La Salle, Malonzo showed terrifying potential. At 6’7”, Jamie could run the floor, play inside and defend. You have to like his aggressiveness and confidence. It helps that he knows he is good. You gotta like his wingspan too.

Calvin Oftana (3rd, NLEX)

When I saw Calvin with San Beda, I thought this kid was already PBA-bound. He reminded me of former Red Lions player Merwin Castelo, who I enjoyed watching — except that Calvin’s got more game. He’s got height at 6’5” and can defend the wing and frontcourt positions. At San Beda, he was an all-around player who filled the stat sheet.

In am high on this selection for NLEX.

Mikey Williams (4th, TNT)

Okay. Williams might be the “smallest” at 6’1” but it makes sense as TNT is still in search of it heir to Jayson Castro, who has logged a lot of mileage in those legs of his. One thing going for Williams is his age at 29, and that means he too has experience outside Cal State Fullerton where he played college ball. Mikey’s also suited up for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA G-League, Saigon Heat in the ABL, and General Santos in the MPBL. So he understands the regional and local game.

TNT has stockpiled guards — Pamboy Raymundo, Byron Villarias, Mikee Reyes, Mark Tallo, Kib Montalbo and Val Chauca to name but a few — whether to backstop or eventually replace Castro. Let’s see what Williams can do with this team that is a powerhouse in the making.

Leonard Santillan (5th, Rain or Shine)

What I like about Santillan is he doesn’t need plays called for him to be effective. Like San Miguel’s former workhorse Freddie Abuda, Santillan can thrive on gimmes, stick backs and low-post play. But unlike Abuda, he has better offense and is a much better shot blocker despite being at 6’4”.

And having seen him up close, he is very coachable. A plus for any coach!

Benedict Adamos (4th, Alaska)

I am kind of surprised that Adamos went this high as I thought that Larry Muyang should have gone higher. He is raw. At times, reminds me of former San Beda player, Jake Pascual, except the latter was a better scorer. Make no mistake, Adamos is a banger and has potential.

Larry Muyang (7th, Phoenix)

He’s got that Beau Belga body and can be tough as well. Solid inside operator. Can rebound with the big guys because he knows how to throw his weight around. If he develops a consistent medium range shot, watch out. I think this guy will have a long PBA career.

James Laput (8th, Terra Firma)

It’s hard to say how he will fare. The 6’9” Fil-Australian who played alongside Malonzo as a one-and-done player for La Salle didn’t see much action as he got injured early in the previous season. He did show his wares in the 3×3 tourney of Chooks to Go, but that’s three-on-three ball.

I like his mobility though that at times has me thinking of Andy Seigle during his Mobiline days.

Alvin Pasaol (9th, Meralco)

I like this. Pasaol and Bong Quinto on one team. A smaller version of the Bruise Brothers. Except, they are do-it-all players. And Pasaol is an impact player with an even bigger heart.

Pasaol’s gift for the big shot is there. The same for making uncanny passes. It is interesting to see how he adjusts to the bigger defenders in the pros. And oh, he needs the ball to be effective. How that works too in Norman Black’s style of play is another thing worth following.

Jerrick Ahanmisi (10th, Magnolia)

I am a fan of this 6’1” shooter. Unlike other shooters, Ahanmisi can take it to the rack. He needs to toughen up both physically and mentally because that’s a solid guard corps they have with the Hotshots. He will need minutes to get that confidence going.

Troy Rike (11th, NorthPort)

I think that for this 6’7” forward to latch onto the Batang Pier squad, he will have to do two things — play consistently and hard. I am not saying he doesn’t play hard. Since I began watching Rike, I always thought of him as a role player.

Having watched him loads, I think he needs to go to a team with the right system to be effective.

In a team of scorers and guys who need the ball to thrive, how does he fit in? By rebounding and hitting those outside shots of his.

Let’s see how he fits this team.

Ken Holmqvist (12th, Ginebra)

The last time we saw this 6’8” Filipino-Norwegian was when he played in the summer leagues for FEU then he went home. He certainly has potential. How he has grown and become mentality stronger since then is anyone’s guess.

Crucial here is his integration to the squad and finding meaningful minutes to get his confidence going.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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