MANILA, Philippines – Like Terrafirma with top pick Joshua Munzon, the rest of the PBA clubs see a bright future with the blue-chip rookies they drafted, even expecting them to make their mark immediately.
“We’re very excited with the picks that we got,” NorthPort governor Erick Arejola told The STAR, referring to the Batang Pier’s selections in the record-setting draft led by No. 2 overall Jamie Malonzo and No. 11 Troy Rike.
“We’re sure they’ll have impact in the team right away once the season starts,” he added.
Athletic big Malonzo and 3×3 star Rike are expected to complement newly-acquired Greg Slaughter in the NorthPort frontcourt and blend well with stars Sean Anthony and Robert Bolick.
TNT Tropang Giga, which traded to get the rights to No. 4 selection, have high expectations for Fil-Am guard Mikey Williams. The former G League player is tipped to form a lethal backcourt tandem with Jayson Castro and help fill in the shoes left by on-leave Bobby Ray Parks Jr.
“We’re very happy to have picked Mikey Williams. We think he can contribute immediately,” said TNT mentor Chot Reyes, who also chose Michael Simmonds in the third round.
Meralco mentor Norman Black felt the Bolts were lucky to get scoring dynamo Alvin Pasaol at No. 9.
“We have been a very solid basketball team on the defensive end the past few years and our hope is that Alvin can be a force on the offensive side. He will give us someone who can create his own shot,” he said.
Debuting Rain or Shine coach Chris Gavina said the squad looked for someone who displays “a great deal of character, grit and toughness” and found that in No. 5 pick Santi Santillan.
“He’s a known bruiser with a knack for rebounding and willingness to do the little things to help his team win. He carries himself with extreme dignity and poise under fire,” said Gavina, who also drafted Franky Johnson, Anton Asistio, and Andrei Caracut.
Alaska’s Jeff Cariaso was similarly satisfied with center Ben Adamos (No. 6) and shooter Taylor Browne (16th).
“We’re happy that the guys we targeted, we’re able to get. Ben and Taylor were both high on our list,” he said.
For his part, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero chose a gunner – Jerrick Ahanmisi – for the 10th pick.
“We want a pure shooter in our lineup and we feel Jerrick Ahanmisi is the best shooter in the draft, shooting if I’m not mistaken, 40 percent from the three points,” Victolero said.
More than Ahanmisi’s touch, the Hotshots coach likes the former Adamson standout’s defensive skills.
“He’s a two-way player. He’s trained to be a two-way player and likes to pressure the ball (with the Falcons). And this is our system – we like to pressure and play high-octane defense.
“And he’s only 22 or 23, there’s a lot of upside with him,” said Victolero.
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