AMA Online Education, as expected, selected two-time UAAP champion Jeron Teng of La Salle as the top rookie pick in the 2016 PBA D-League Draft at the PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig City.
Teng is coming off a successful collegiate career, helping the Green Archers in winning the UAAP men's basketball title two weeks ago in his final year.
“Actually si Jeron Teng, kapag pumasok sa team, automatic may improvement,” said AMA coach Mark Herrera. “Morale booster sa team namin, especially bata.”
Seeking for a better performance this season, the Titans also got University of Santo Tomas standouts Jeepy Faundo and Embons Bonleon in the draft, as well as University of the East's Renz Palma, Peejay Barua, Sabah Cox, Jason Riley, Kim Fojol, Maui Bernabe and Jay-R Gaco.
Jay-R Taganas and Ryan Arambulo were the only holdovers from last season’s AMA roster.
“Every conference, pumapasok kami sa quarterfinals. Kapag na-push ang mga bata, hopefully we can make it to the semis and in the championship,” said Herrera, who will be assisted om the bench by Benjie Diswe, Edwin Ancheta, Eugene Bautista and Bobby Andaya..
Tanduay got Jom Sollano of Letran at second overall, while selecting Monbert Arong of Far Eastern University in the second round, Paul Varilla of University of the East in the third round, ABL standout Jason Brickman in the fourth round and Fil-Swede Andres Cahilig in the fifth round before passing the rest of the way.
Racal picked Jonjon Gabriel of Colegio de San Lorenzo at third, as well as Jerrick Balanza in the second round, Mac Tallo of Southwestern University in the third round, Darryl Singontiko of University of Perpetual Help System Dalta in the fourth round, UST's Jam Sheriff in the fifth, Perpetual Help's AJ Coronel in the sixth round, La Salle's Thomas Torres in the seventh and UST's Regie Boy Basibas in the eighth.
Cafe France, forming its Centro Escolar University core, had Patrick Aquino, Mishaal Veron and Orlan Wamar as its first three rounds.
The Bakers also took in San Sebastian stalwarts Alvyn Capobres, Allyn Bulanadi and Justin Mercado, and Cebu's Ian Ortega in the later rounds.
Wang’s Basketball tabbed Gboy Babilonia of Ateneo at No. 5 while picking up UST's Justin Arana in the second round, Chris Lalata in the third round, Michael Ayon-ayon in the fourth and Ervin Lacsamana in the fifth.
Victoria Sports-Manuel L. Quezon University had Jason Grimaldo at sixth overall, while also selecting Nikko Lao, Jaymark Mallari, Juan Baliday, Justin Padua, Allen dela Cruz and Alexander Junsay to form the core. Outside of the Stallions players, Mindanao's Miguel Plata, Harold Butron, Yankie Haruna and Marvin Lee were also hooked up.
Another school-based team, Cignal-San Beda, had Davon Potts at No. 7, while also forming the core were Robert Bolick, AC Soberano, Calvin Optana, John Bahio, Jomari Presbitero, Kenneth Alas and Kyle Carlos to boost its stock in coach Boyet Fernandez's return in the D-League. The only non-Red Lions player picked by Cignal is Pampanga's Crenz Carlos.
Newcomer Batangas wrapped up the first round by getting Wilmar Anderson.
They were the busiest team in the draft, taking the rights of Joco Macasaet, Chris Dela Pena, John Yasa, Thomas de Guzman, Lucky Mangabang, Mark Carongoy, Greco Magbuhos, Justin Ada Ervin Mendoza, Benhur Lascano, Kiervin Redavadia, Cedric de Joya, Dan Fortu, Raymond Inciong, Josemari Bautista, Mark Anthony Cailao and Darryl Caranugian.
Another school-based team, Jose Rizal University, kept its roster intact, while the 10th squad in the fold, Blustar Malaysia, did not participate in the draft due to its status as a guest team.
There were 73 players in all that were selected in the annual draft.
Rookies picked are expected to see action for their respective squads in the new season, starting at the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup which will open on Jan. 19 at the Ynares Sports Arena.