As expected, Petron Blaze made six-foot-nine June Mar Fajardo of the University of Cebu the top overall pick of the 2012 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft held at Robinson Manila.
The Blaze Boosters, who recently named Olsen Racela their new head coach, had publicly said they would tap the hulking Fajardo, who suited up for the San Miguel Beermen in the ASEAN Basketball League. And they made good on their promise, making Fajardo the second big man in three years to be picked number one overall.
Picking second, the Alaska Aces selected San Sebastian’s do-it-all forward Calvin Abueva, in another move that was largely expected. The first minor surprise came when Petron picked Fil-American Alex Mallari, a six-foot-four forward who suited up for Big Chill in the D-League. Many observers had expected either Cliff Hodge or Chris Ellis to be the third overall pick.
The six-foot-six Hodge was picked next, by the Meralco Bolts, where he is expected to shore up Coach Ryan Gregorio’s frontline. Barako Bull then selected Far Eastern University’s Aldrech Ramos with the fifth pick in another mild surprise, as the former Smart Gilas stalwart had been tabbed to be a late first-rounder.
Picking sixth, Barangay Ginebra got Ellis, the wiry and athletic swingman who teamed up with Hodge in the NLEX Road Warriors team that swept the last D-League tournament. At seventh, Governos Cup champion Rain or Shine immediately gained thousands of new female fans by picking Smart Gilas skipper Chris Tiu, who will team with 2012 Rookie of the Year Paul Lee to form a young and intriguing backcourt for Elastopainters.
Ginebra used the eighth overall pick on six-four Fil-American Keith Jensen, who played for Big Chill. At ninth, the Commissioner’s Cup champion B-Meg Llamados traded their pick plus seldom-used forward Val Acuna to new member GlobalPort for forward Sean Anthony. GlobalPort used the pick to select former PBL and D-League MVP Vic Manuel of PSBA, and then sued the next pick, the last of the first round, on Jason Deutchman of San Diego State and more recently Café France in the D-League.
The Air21 Express opened up the second round by tabbing Fil-Kuwaiti Yousef Taha, while B-Meg traded the 12th overall pick plus the newly-acquired Anthony to Barako Bull in exchange for Ramos. The Energy then used the pick to select Dave Marcelo of San Beda.
Picking 13th, the Llamados chose center Jewel Ponferrada of National U, while GlobalPort tabbed Fil-Am AJ Mandani with the 14th overall pick. With the 15th and 16th picks, the Bolts shored up their point guard rotation by choosing Adamson’s Lester Alvarez and Ateneo’s Emman Monfort. Rain o Shine traded the 17th pick to Meralco for a future second-round pick, giving the Bolts their third pick in a row, which they used on Kelly Nabong.
Barako Bull selected UP’s Woody Co with the 18th pick, while Alaska and Talk ‘N Text rounded out the second round by tabbing Raffy Reyes and Jaypee Belencion, respectively.
The third round picks started with Air21 coach Franz Pumaren choosing his former La Salle point guard Simon Atkins with the 21st overall pick. Atkins was followed by Karl Dehesa (Alaska), Ryan Boado (Barako Bull), Janus Lozada (Meralco), Mark Sarangay (Petron), Macky Acosta (GlobalPort), Bacon Austria (Rain or Shine), Jerick Canada (Ginebra), Gian Chiu (B-Meg) and Jason Escueta (B-Meg).
Teams began passing in the fourth round, with Alaska, Air21, and TNT all declining to make selections. In the fifth round, VJ Serios was taken by GlobalPort with the 46th pick, while Virgil Buensuceso was picked 48th by Ginebra. The Kings made the last selection of the draft, selecting Elliot Tan with the first pick of the sixth round, or 51st overall.
A total of 39 players were selected out of the over 60 who applied. Teams have five working days to offer a contract to their draft picks, or else they will become free agents.
Meralco and Barangay Ginebra were the busiest teams, with both making six selections.
How the draft went:
1. Petron - June Mar Fajardo (University of Cebu)
2. Alaska – Calvin Abueva (SSC)
3. Petron – Alex Mallari (Lewis-Clark State)
4. Meralco – Cliff Hodge (Reedley College)
5. Barako Bull – Aldrech Ramos (FEU)
6. Ginebra – Chris Ellis (Mary Liarden Baylor)
7. Rain or Shine – Chris Tiu (Ateneo)
8. Ginebra – Keith Jensen (New York University)
9. GlobalPort (from B-Meg) - Vic Manuel (PSBA) B-Meg traded pick plus Val Acuna to GlobalPort for Sean Anthony.
10. Global – Jason Deutchman (San Diego State)
11. Air21 – Yousef Taha (North Lake)
12. Barako Bull (from B-Meg) - Dave Marcelo (San Beda) B-Meg traded pick and Sean Anthony to Barako for Aldrech Ramos.
13. B-Meg – Jewel Ponferrada (NU)
14. Global – AJ Mandani (Univ of Missouri-Rolla)
15. Meralco – Lester Alvarez (Adamson)
16. Meralco – Emman Monfort (Ateneo)
17. Meralco (from RoS) - Kelly Nabong. RoS traded pick to Meralco for future 2nd round pick.
18. Barako Bull – Woody Co (UP)
19. Alaska – Raffy Reyes (UE)
20. TNT – Jaypee Belencion (Letran)
21. Air21 – Simon Atkins (DLSU)
22. Alaska – Karl Dehesa (Waldorf College)
23. Barako – Ryan Boado (Univ. of Houston)
24. Meralco – Janus Lozada (Adamson)
25. Petron – Mark Sarangay (Mapua)
26. Global – Macky Acosta (Mapua)
27. Rain or Shine – Bacon Austria (Ateneo)
28. Ginebra – Jerick Canada (Adamson)
29. B-Meg – Gian Chiu (Oberlin College, Ohio)
30. TNT – Jason Escueta (Ateneo)
31. Alaska passes
32. Air21 passes
33. Barako – Joseph Hermosisima (NU)
34. Meralco – Eric Suguitan (UE/SBC/ACSAT)
35. Petron passes
36. GlobalPort – Jan Colina (Adamson)
37. Rain or Shine – Jewel Palomique (Mapua)
38. Ginebra – Paul Zamar (UE)
39. B-Meg – Ramon Mabayo (STI)
40. TNT passes
46. GlobalPort – Virgilio Serios (UP)
48. Ginebra – Virgil Buensuceso (BYU-Hawaii Univ.)
49. B-Meg passes
50. TNT passes
51. Ginebra – Elliot Tan (Biola Univ.)