2016 PBA Mock Draft

By Ivan Saldajeno

THE time has arrived!

The fate of 53 aspiring PBA players will be determined in the PBA Draft on Sunday at Robinson's Place Manila.

Also, it's time for the online media outlets like ours to forecast who-picks-who in the draft based on the teams' needs and the players fit for the job.

But because this year's draft is special thanks to the special Gilas draft, this author made two mock drafts (although it's virtually just down to one; more later).

First up, the Gilas draft...

Oh wait! Thanks to reports that the special draft already happened from Thursday to Saturday and that the clubs have already "locked in" their picks (so far, only two teams have really made their intentions clear), this mock Gilas draft may not be necessary. However, because everything will just be formalized on Draft Day, there's still a reason to make a mock Gilas draft, although it will now come in the form of a quick analysis.

1. Blackwater-Mac Belo

Even if Coach Leo Isaac will only announce his pick on Sunday, there's no way Mac Belo won't top the mock Gilas draft. He's arguably the best player available among all of the 53 draft applicants.

2. Phoenix-Matt Wright

This is an interesting pick considering that Coach Ariel Vanguardia told this writer that Phoenix prefers either a big man or a point guard. But if you're following the ABL, you should know that Wright played under Vanguardia with Malaysia, so this move still makes sense.

3. Ginebra-Kevin Ferrer

There was a bit of a scare with this pick after a report surfaced that Ginebra and Star swapped their Gilas selections only to be denied by Ginebra governor Alfrancis Chua. But regardless of whether the Barangay choose Ferrer or Jio Jalalon, it may be beneficial for them. Right now, Ginebra looks for more wing stability and a legit point guard since Scottie Thompson and Sol Mercado have been playing the 2-guard recently.

4. Mahindra-Russel Escoto

Coach Ariel called Escoto as the most talented big in this draft class. Although he didn't end up in Phoenix, Escoto will surely find a home in Mahindra especially with fellow ex-FEU Tamaraw Aldrech Ramos around.

5. Star-Jio Jalalon

Many Star fans raised concerns after the reports came that the club took Jio Jalalon in considering the crowded point guard rotation in the team made more crowded after the Paul Lee-James Yap trade. But here's the thing: Jalalon will stay with Gilas and may only come to the Hotshots by 2018. In two years time, the Purefoods franchise may lack some point guard depth. I believe this pick was for the long run.

6. San Miguel-Arnold Van Opstal

Assuming he gets released to San Miguel, the main concern for the 6-foot-9 big is that he might play more of the four thanks to Junemar Fajardo. AVO is not that versatile to shift to the four yet. But the Beermen can wait.

7. Meralco-RR Pogoy

Adding a shooter could be a good move for Meralco especially with the surplus of swingers the team has.

8. NLEX-Ed Daquioag

This is reportedly NLEX's first draft pick in the Yeng Guiao era, and with him known to turn unlikely heroes to big-time heroes, we may see a different Ed Daquioag in the future.

9. Rain Or Shine-Mike Tolomia

Speaking of Coach Yeng, this is ROS' first major draft move since Guiao left for NLEX. This could be a good pick too now with Lee gone.

10. Alaska-Carl Cruz

A recent report surfaced that Alaska made up its mind and chose Carl Cruz. He may not be as talented as the other Gilas young guns, but his intangibles could be of good help.

11. GlobalPort-Von Pessumal

GlobalPort is one of two teams that don't have a first rounder in the regular draft, but thanks to this, the club is assured of a draft pick. The new developments point toward Von Pessumal heading to the Batang Pier. I'm curious how the fans will react if they see the former Ateneo Blue Eagle wear (neon) green?

12. TNT-Fonzo Gotladera

The recent reports are also leaning to Gotladera joining TNT featuring new head coach Nash Racela. However, it seems like the KaTropa are "complete", so it remains a question how the 6-foot-6 center will fit to the system.

Click here for the mock regular draft.

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