2015 PBA Mock Draft

By Ivan Saldajeno

ONE day to go before everyone converges at the Robinson's Place Manila for the 2015 PBA Draft, DPH presents its mock draft. What to expect here: the projection of who's picking who in the draft based on the teams' respective needs and the players' capabilities and the possible sleepers. The mock draft is limited only to the first round. Here we go!

1. Talk 'n Text-Moala Tautuaa
Nuki Sabio/PBA (file photo)
Initially belonging to Blackwater, the reigning Commissioner's Cup champion got the right to the first overall pick after a trade during the season. Talk 'n Text will surely make Moala Tautuaa the first guy in. Needing youth and ceiling, the 6-7 Fil-Tongan center formerly of the ABL's Malaysia Dragons will provide the interior presence for the veteran-laden Tropang Texters. Many already project him as a prototype of another Fil-Tongan player, Asi Taulava.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: ...Troy Rosario, especially if TNT's plan of taking the second pick from Mahindra via a trade fails.

Dennis Acosta (file photo)
2. Mahindra-Troy Rosario

The former Kia Carnival is now known as the Mahindra Enforcers, and the Manny Pacquiao-mentored club will be the likeliest to take Troy Rosario. The question: Will Mahindra keep Pick 2 or will it end up with Talk 'n Text after reports of a three-team swap together with NLEX surfaced? I think, however, that even if the Texters get the second pick, they will still use it for Rosario. A 6-7 stretch-4 from NU with athleticism and hops, the SEA Games gold medalist is really PBA-ready.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Assuming Mahindra keeps the pick, taking Tautuaa is possible if TNT goes for Rosario first. But with Tautuaa as Pick 1 is all but just the formality, Mahindra could opt for Norbert Torres instead of Rosario, especially that the club also needs bigs.

Pen Lazarte (file photo)
3. Rain Or Shine-Norbert Torres

The center position has been a concern for the Rain Or Shine side recently. Although the Elasto Painters have Beau Belga, J.R QuiƱahan, and Raymond Almazan, it seems like they might need another big. Meanwhile, the club reiterated of going for the best player available. Probably the best center available aside from Mo and Troy is Norbert Torres. A 6-6 center from La Salle with a touch from middle range, Torres, which I actually prefer over Arnold Van Opstal, can give the Elasto Painters' holdover bigs some good rest. This pick originally belonged to NLEX.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: A late first-rounder in other mock drafts, Bradwyn Guinto could get picked to as early as third overall if Coach Yeng Guiao insists. Meanwhile, if ROS goes for the best player available regardless of position, the team could go for Chris Newsome.

4. Meralco-Baser Amer
FilOil Flying V Sports (file photo)
Meralco pulled Jimmy Alapag out of retirement to play for the team. But that means he will need to mentor his possible protege. The Bolts can use the pick they got from the GlobalPort Batang Pier for San Beda's Baser Amer, the best point guard in the draft class.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Scottie Thompson can make the best sleeper for the fourth pick.

Chris Newsome could team up with fellow
King Eagle Greg Slaughter at Ginebra.
Pen Lazarte (file photo)
5. Ginebra-Chris Newsome

During an interview with new coach Tim Cone during the Draft Combine, he said that while he is going for the best player, he is also looking for a wingman. Newsome fits the criteria. The 6-2 Ateneo small forward has athleticism that can become a key for the successful implementation of the triangle offense. Another factor: Newsome reportedly worked out with the Gin Kings this past week. All he needs, however, is more consistency from deep.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: I seriously contemplated about going for Arth Dela Cruz as my projected fifth pick. Dela Cruz could be groomed as the next Joe Devance. It's just that I projected Newsome to be still available four picks down.

6. NLEX-Scottie Thompson
Rejj Sibayan (file photo)
While NLEX lost the third pick to Rain Or Shine, the team still has two first rounders beginning with the sixth pick. A team loaded with veterans at the point guard spot, the Road Warriors can tap Perpetual Help's Scottie Thompson here. While the team management revealed that it considers an alum from its former D-League club and that Asi Taulava is too old, Thompson is tough to pass midway into the first round. He is a triple-double machine (league-leading three this season) and can play both guard spots too.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Garvo Lanete, a former D-League Road Warrior, is projected at sixth in some other mock drafts.

7. Meralco-Maverick Ahanmisi
Tom Olmscheid/AP (file photo)
This is the Bolts' default first round pick, and they can use this to get the best player available from the remaining 57 applicants. Cafe France's Maverick Ahanmisi, a former US NCAA Division 1 player for the University of Minnesota, is projected to be a future Ryan Reyes.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: With Meralco already going for a point guard in my mock draft, the club could go for a potent offensive threat in Josan Nimes.

8. Star-Arth Dela Cruz
Dennis Acosta (file photo)
I mentioned above that Arth Dela Cruz can be a future Joe Devance. Why not Devance himself teach the 6-4 San Beda point forward? Star can start the Jason Webb era by going for Dela Cruz as the eighth overall pick. Arth Jr. can score, pass, grab rebounds, and go grit-and-grind a la Art Sr. He, however, needs to use his right hand more as the southpaw goes left almost all the time.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Take note that this is another best-player-available pick knowing that most of the 2014 Grand Slam team members will stay with the Hotshots for the 2016 season, so I will again throw Nimes to the mix. Trading the pick, however, could be the more likely move.

9. Blackwater-Josan Nimes
Ric Arlos (file photo)
I had a bunch of ridiculous draft projections ever since I am just doing this for my blog, and you may add this one to the list. Most of the mock drafts elsewhere do not have Nimes in the first round partially explained by the fact that he missed two seasons due to injury. Lo and behold, in his comeback season for Mapua, which will now serve as his last too, Nimes has gone on a beast mode. Blackwater, needing a franchise star, could pull off the steal of the draft and select him ninth overall.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Take note that the Elite gave up Brian Heruela in a recent trade, so they could prioritize a point guard at Pick 9, making Roi Sumang a sleeper pick here.

10. NLEX-Bradwyn Guinto
Pen Lazarte (file photo)
Like I mentioned above, while Asi Taulava is having a career renaissance, he is aged 42 already. The Road Warriors can bring in Guinto to add youth to their frontline, possibly making him the heir to their interior if Taulava finally declares retirement.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Glenn Khobuntin is an option for Pick 10 if Guinto gets chosen earlier.

Gab Victorino (file photo)
11. Alaska-Roi Sumang

Alaska finished second in two conferences this season, and with the core of last year's roster staying, the team will go for the best player available here, and that is UE's Roi Sumang. With Alex Compton already giving up the triangle offense in favor of the run-and-gun game, Sumang can shine with the Aces easily especially that he loves to drive and go for the layup.

Don't be surprised if the team takes: Ryan Wetherell made heads turn in the PBA Draft Combine, so Alaska could bring the 2015 draft class' "mystery man" to the club.

Eric Wolfe via Flickr (file photo)
12. Rain Or Shine-Ryan Wetherell

Coach Yeng Guiao loves to turn relative unknowns to stars due to his system. With ROS going for the best player available in this one, the team could go for no less than the "mystery man", Ryan Wetherell. With a stint with the Laguna Warriors in the FBA the only time we see his play locally, we saw more of Wetherell in the combine by topping almost all the biometric stats. Steal of the draft, anyone?

Don't be surprised if the team takes: ...trade offers from other teams. Guiao admitted that the E-Painters are now looking for trades to improve their lineup, and they were serious after sending out Jervy Cruz to the GlobalPort Batang Pier. Although the likes of Khobuntin and Jerramy King are still available, it looks like ROS will be satisfied with the third overall pick.