BLACKWATER made Raphael Banal as top pick in the regular draft as expected, and acquired Mac Belo as well in the Gilas side during the 2016 PBA Gatorade Rookie Draft at the Robinson’s Place on Ermita, Manila yesterday.
The Elite officials, led by owner Dioceldo Sy and coach Leo Isaac, merely went through the motion as they made official the selection of Banal, the 6-foot-1 son of former PBA cager Joel banal, and Belo in their bid to improve their string of disappointing finishes in the PBA.
Barangay Ginebra opted for an unknown draftee in Jam Jamito whom it made number three pick in the regular draft, while going for Kevin Ferrer in the Gilas.
Banal, a big shooting guard at 6-foot-2, thus became the highest pick among the 53 aspirants that showed up and outside the 12 Gilas cadets who were drafted ahead during the well-attended annual proceedings.
The 12 teams followed an alphabetical order in announcing their chosen players in the Gilas pool, with Alaska going for Carl Bryant Cruz, followed by Ginebra which selected Ferrer, and Blackwater acquiring Belo.
The rest of the Gilas pool members now have their teams in the PBA.
The Star Hotshots also beefed up their stacked guard rotation by landing Jio Jalalon of Arellano.
Filipino-Canadian shooter Matthew Wright was drafted by the Phoenix Fuel Masters, paving the way for a reunion with Ariel Vanguardia, his coach in the ASEAN Basketball League.
The other Gilas players and their new teams include Von Pessumal (Globalport), Russel Escoto (Mahindra), Ed Daquioag (Meralco), Alfonso Gotladera (NLEX), Matthew Wright (Phoenix), Mike Tolomia (Rain or Shine), Arnold Van Opstal (San Miguel), Jio Jalalon (Star), and roger Pogoy (Talk ‘N Text).
Geo Alolino, the star guard of National University’s title-winning team in the UAAP in 2014, was taken at No. 2 by Phoenix in the regular draft and eventually reunited with former Bulldogs teammate Jeff Javillonar who was taken by the Fuel Masters at No. 12.
But the pick that made the biggest noise was Ginebra’s decision to select Jamito, a 6-foot-5 big man from Basud, Camarines Norte who was mostly under the radar of most teams after spending his college career outside the UAAP and NCAA.
The former St. Clare College slotman is considered the top sleeper in the draft.
Not content with Jamito, Ginebra, which already has twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, also grabbed its 6-foot-11 former practice player, Jericho de Guzman, with the No. 8 pick.
Mahindra picked former Mapua forward Joseph Eriobu at No. 4; former University of the East slotman Chris Javier went to Star at No. 5; Fil-Am Rashawn McCarthy was made the No. 6 pick by SMB; while Jonathan Grey was picked at No. 7 by Star.
Rashwan McCarthy went to San Miguel on 6thpick, Jonathan Grey went to Meralco at 7th, Reden Celda to NLEX at 8th, while Rainor or Shine opted not to pick. Ginebra then tabbed 6-foot-11 de Guzman at 10th, and Alaska (pass), while Phoenix (from a previous trade withSMB), selected Jeffrey Javillonar at 12th.