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
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
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
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.