In sports, they say, everyone’s a winner — some just win better than others. We covered the proceedings of the 2011 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday and figured out who won, and who didn’t.
Winner: Powerade Tigers
Powerade looked to have a pretty good night ahead of them, with the 1st and 4th picks in hand. They expectedly picked JVee Casio first and got another welcome addition in their backcourt with Marcio Lassiter at No. 4. In Casio and Lassiter, the Tigers get two low-risk prospects ready to contribute right away. Sure, they still have plenty holes, particularly in the front court. But they get a pretty solid talent upgrade overall, and that’s what any team hopes for in the draft anyway.
Winner: JVee Casio
Did anyone imagine, after playing his final season with De La Salle in 2008, that he would become the No. 1 overall pick in the draft? But three years of seasoning under the system of SMART-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman did wonders for Casio’s game… and for his draft stock.
The national team saw all seven of its players who applied for the PBA get drafted in the first round. But fans have rightfully been asking what the long-term prospects are for the program now that the core group of players have moved on to the professional ranks. It’s back to the drawing board again for the national team.
Winner: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
The Elasto Painters only had one draft pick, and they used it on the sensational Paul Lee. We suspect that in three years, everyone will remember this night as the Paul Lee draft. Coach Yeng Guiao is probably hoping that we’re right.
Winner: Mark Barroca
Never mind being drafted fifth overall. Pictured above is Mark Barroca with his girlfriend, Ruselle Alinea, who gave a tearful interview during the draft broadcast on AKTV on IBC-13. We don’t know about you guys, but Mark is a winner in our book.
Winner: Alaska Aces
Alaska coach Tim Cone is notorious for not playing rookies — except those who are exceptionally talented or seasoned. They ended up with Mac Baracael, a steal at the No. 6 spot, who will blend in perfectly in Cone’s triangle offense.
Loser: Eric Salamat, Ariel Mepaña, and Julius Pasculado
Like we said, Tim Cone rarely plays rookies. So what are your chances of cracking his rotation if you’re one of three second-round picks? We’re guessing it’s either slim or none.
Winner: Allein Maliksi
Loser: Dylan Ababou
Times sure have changed since 2009, when UST Growling Tiger Dylan Ababou won the UAAP MVP while Allein Maliksi played a supporting role to his more decorated teammate. Ababou would join the SMART-Gilas program soon after that, where he was buried behind Lassiter, Chris Lutz and later, Dondon Hontiveros in a crowded swingman rotation.
Meanwhile, Maliksi would emerge as the MVP of the inaugural PBA D-League conference as he led the Cebuana Lhullier Gems to the finals. With the 8th and 10th picks in the draft, Barako Bull would select Maliksi first, before going for Ababou with their second first-rounder.
Of course, where you’re picked in the draft doesn’t matter so much once you get out on the floor, but it speaks a lot about what happened to the draft stock of both players after their college days.
Winner: Petron Blaze Boosters
Not only do they bring back star guard Dondon Hontiveros into their fold, but they get the chance to move up in the draft in the same blockbuster deal, where they picked up Lutz with the 3rd pick. Now that’s winning.
Loser: The PBA’s reputation
Wait a second… Petron Blaze and Barako Bull conduct a deal where the Boosters get the best player AND a higher draft pick, which they used on Chris Lutz? While Petron fans are happy, fans of other teams smell something fishy. What is going on here?
Loser: B-MEG Llamados
They were going into the draft fairly certain that they owned the 5th pick, but last minute negotiations at the venue allowed new franchise Shopinas.com to keep their original draft position and select Mark Barroca. It’s likely the Llamados still end up with Barroca, but they’ll have to trade more than just the rights to two future second-round draft picks that the former Barako Bull franchise had reportedly previously agreed to.
Winner: Jorge Gallent
Many people — mostly fans of the Llamados — were expecting to hear an announcement regarding the status of B-MEG coach Jorge Gallent. But draft day came and went, and Gallent still retained his title as head coach of the Purefoods franchise.
Winner: Magi Sison
Loser: Ken Acibar
After fairly unremarkable performances in the UAAP and the PBA D-League, many expected Magi Sison to plummet down the draft board. But Shopinas.com surprised many by selecting him with the first pick in the 2nd round, 11th overall. They say you can’t teach size, and that might be why he went so early.
In contrast, Ken Acibar, who had very productive tournaments in both leagues, saw himself dropping down to 19th to Barako Bull where he may have to contend for minutes with forwards Danny Seigle, Elmer Espiritu, Leo Najorda and fellow rookies Maliksi and Ababou.
They missed out on getting Mark Barroca, whose rights would reportedly be shipped to B-MEG. They ended the draft with little to show except for Sison and, according to reports, Brian Ilad, two middling prospects. The moves were curious given that there were better prospects on the board, such as Ken Acibar and Gilbert Bulawan, when the team made their picks. Franz Pumaren won four straight championships when he took over the De La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP. We suspect he won’t have that kind of success in the PBA.
Winner: Chris Ross’ hairdo
Prince, is that you?
Loser: Lawrence Chongson’s hairdo
We miss the former UE coach’s long, flowing locks. Also coach: bangs?
Winner: Marc Agustin
We kept making jokes that he’d end up on Talk ‘N Text, which is coached by his father Ato’s nemesis, Chot Reyes. We got the next best thing though, because he ended up at Powerade, which also features Chot’s nephew Jai Reyes.
Winner: Ginebra fangirls (and fangays)
We could only wish them luck that UE’s sweet-shooting heartthrob James Martinez cracks the Gin Kings’ roster.
By the way, if he does make it to the lineup, does that mean that his girlfriend, Jed Montero, will be joining Bianca Gonzales and RR Enriquez in the stands? That’s a murderer’s row of cheerleaders. If it happens, then we’ll all be winners.