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Rating the rookies

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 760

DON'T be surprised if Sunday’s  much-awaited PBA Rookie Draft at Robinson's Place Manila  provides as
much excitement as the PBA Governor's Cup title showdown between Barangay Ginebra and Meralco.

While Fil-German Christian Standhardinger is expected to be made No. 1 pick by San  Miguel  
Beer  (after the trade with Kia Picanto), the rest of  the  rookie hopefuls could end up with teams
which desperately need to bolster their lineups.
    
But who will be the  No. 2 pick after Standhardinger? And who will  make it to the  upper half
of Class 2017-18?
    
With a  little help from our friends,  we take a look at the  top  10 rookies who can  make
immediate impact in the league.
 
    
1. Christian Standhardinger,  6-8, Forward, University of Nebraska.
    
A  no-brainer,  really. Standhardinger's selection as this year's No. 1 pick is almost as sure
as day follows nights. The  28-year-old standout is  PBA-ready, no doubt  his Gilas’ numbers of 16.0
points and 5.7 rebounds in the FIBA Asia Cup and 13.8 points,  11.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists  are
enough to  keep  things interesting.  And  Standhardinger  will only get  better playing alongside
four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and  Arwind Santos.  
    
2. Kiefer Ravena, 6-0,  Guard,  Ateneo.
 
It is  no  secret that NLEX coach Yeng Guiao plans to make Ravena as the No. 2 pick ( in case  
Standhardinger will be No. 1). A former standout of  Ateneo,  Ravena is one of  few players in this
year's batch who can  play both  offense and defense. His   basketball IQ can really turn team into
instant contender  and  his flexibility and ability to play 1-2 positions  can bring a lot of  
sleepless nights.
    
3. Jeron Teng, 6-2,  Guard,  La Salle.
         
A  strong candidate for 2018  PBA Rookie of the Year,  Teng will bring with him an explosive
collegiate career with La Salle where he earned two MVP awards. The 23-year-old Teng also established
himself  as an outstanding  all-around player while playing for AMA ( 23. 2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 4.4 apg) and
Flying V ( 22.9 ppg,  6.9 rpg, 5.8 apg)  in the PBA D-League.  Add to that a movie-star good looks and
a good basketball pedigree and you have yourself a PBA player who can really stick around for a long
time.
    
4.  Davon Potts, 6-2,  Guard,  San Beda College.
         
A stellar performance for San Beda in the NCAA and Cignal in the  PBA D-League makes the 24-
year-old  Potts a legitimate applicant for  the  rookie  draft. The  former Cal  State  Northridge  
player averaged 15.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in the  Red Lions' run to the title.  :More
than the talent, PBA coaches  should also consider Potts’ work ethic. This guy  will always  give  his
best every time,” said  San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.
    
5. Raymar Jose, 6-4,  Forward,  Far Eastern University.
         
Even before  he declared  his  intention to join the draft,  Jose  has shown he is ready for
the  PBA.   A vital cog  in the  FEU team which bagged the 2015 UAAP title,  Jose  also suited  up for
the Kaoshiung Truth in the ABL and Cignal in the PBA  D-League before getting  call to join the Gilas
team in the SEA Games in Malaysia.
    
6. Jason Perkins,  6-3, Forward, La Salle
         
A teammate of Teng  with La Salle and  the No. 1 pick by Caida Tiles in the 2015 PBA D League,
the 6-3 bruiser from Valley City State Vikings is a blue-chip performer who can make an impact in the
league. Although  not a  prolific scorer like Teng, he will find ways to put up enough numbers every
game.
    
7. Robbie Herndon,  6-3, Guard, Victoria Sports/Wang's Ballclub.
         
A  two-time member of San Francisco State in the US NCAA, Herndon is described  by experts as  
a legitimate scoring threat from the outside but strong enough to mix it up with the biggies under the
basket. The 24-year-old Fil-Am standout can provide instant offense  when  needed like  he  did when he
played for Victoria Sports and  Wang’s Ballclub in  the  D-League.
    
8 . Rey Nambatac, 6-0, Guard, Letran
         
One  of Letran’s lethal weapons during the  Knights’ championship run  in  2015, Nambatac was
supposed to declare for the PBA Draft last year, but  decided to play for the last  time for  the
Intramuros-based school this  year. The 22-year-old guard will be a good  fit offensively to any team.
    
9. Joseph Gabayni,  6-6,  Lyceum of the Philippines.
         
A  hard-working center who played for the  Lyceum Pirates under coach Bonnie Tan and Racal
Motors under coach Jerry Codiñera,  Gabayni  “ is a  blue-chip center good enough to play in the big
league,” said Tan. A not-too-widely-known player with a huge upside, so to speak.
    
10. Jonjon Gabriel, 6-6,  Forward,  Colegio de San Lorenzo/Wang's Ballclub.
         
A  proven  winner,  Gabriel could easily be one of the biggest steals in this  year’s  loaded
draft. The 6-6 Blue Griffins star had a long and successful  career playing for Colegio de San Lorenzo
in the MBL, NAASCU, UCBL and UCSAA and Wang’s Ballclub in the D-League. Sportswriters  describe him as
a “highly-competitive player with a good work ethic.”  
    
Honorable mention  are Wilson Baltazar, Jebb  Bulawan, Julian  Sargent, Sidney Onwubere,  Ervin  
Grospe,   Monbert  Arong, Felix Apreku,  Michael Christian  Juico,  Zachary  Nicholls,  Chris de
Chavez,  Jayson Grimaldo  and Jett Manuel.

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