I had bouts of boredom, procrastination, and a penchant to edit and edit and edit and edit my articles to the point of setting it up as another unfinished blog article.
But I still push through!!!
So it took time to engineer my third worst PBA Draft of all-time and you know what, for this number… the wound is still FRESH!!!
2016 PBA Draft
How can I NOT hate this draft?
This is easily one of the most disorganized as well as potentially-rigged drafts of all-time. Look, I still believe the PBA isn’t shady with their dealings even if there have been episodes that really want you to question the oldest play-for-pay league. The 2016 PBA Draft however, will go down in history as the first and only PBA Draft to have joint top picks.
The 2016 PBA Draft wrongfully started with a special round. I inserted the word “wrongfully” because first of all, you can question the basis of the selections. Other than the branding, what makes a Gilas Pilipinas prospect different from a regular draft applicant? I know cadets have that international game value… and I somewhat get the need of having a Gilas prospect in each of the twelve rounds but what is the point of having a special round if the players in question will not have special treatment? How can these players develop their confidence if they spend most of their time on the bench? If a guy like Arnold Van Opstal, Fonso Gotladera, Russel Escoto, and Von Pessumal can’t have at least ten minutes of PBA time, then what good is the special draft? Hell, even Carl Bryan Cruz struggled for playing time in Alaska and that’s a team with a flawed roster!
Remember when Chito Narvasa announced to the public that Alaska selected the FEU stalwart as their special round selection? Remember the silence that surrounded the venue? The noise picked up only with the announcement of Mac Belo because in these events, you expect the top player to get called first. And the league can’t even say the rules behind the special draft selections. If we’re going to follow the regular draft order, we have Blackwater claiming Mac Belo, Phoenix selecting Matthew Wright, Barangay Ginebra choosing Kevin Ferrer, Mahindra selecting Russel Escoto, Star Hotshots nabbing Jio Jalalon, San Miguel obtaining Arnold Van Opstal, Meralco sniping Ed Daquioag, NLEX acquiring Fonso Gotladera, Rain or Shine selecting Michael Tolomia, Alaska claiming Carl Bryan Cruz, GlobalPort choosing Von Pessumal, and TNT obtaining Roger Pogoy. Yes, TNT, a team who got their first regular draft player in the fourth round, was able to claim Pogoy. I mean… Gotledera – a last minute addition to the special round – is a couple of rings higher compared to RR Pogoy.
And then we remember that the first numbered pick of the 2016 PBA Draft is Ael Banal.
And before the clarification, the league set this guy up as the top pick of the draft.
You can’t fault Leo Austria for benching AVO because he is following his game plan… and the PBA could have intervened by demanding at least ten minutes for the special round players. Not only is Van Opstal out of the Gilas Pilipinas pool, it turns out there are other rookies that have shown brighter this season.
On October 18, 2016, Chot Reyes returned to reprise his role as Gilas Pilipinas coach. The 2016 PBA Draft was held on October 30, 2016. With less than two weeks, I’m pretty sure Chot Reyes knows that in order to win international tourneys, they need to have the best PBA players. All of a sudden, it nixes all thought that the twelve cadets would lead the country in international tourneys. Say what you want about the international gameplay of June Mar Fajardo but there is a reason why he got more playing compared to AVO in San Miguel. Ditto for the other big men in Yeng Guiao’s NLEX if we’re going to question Fonso Gotladera’s playing time. With the insertion of Reyes, the special round became null and void and to the surprise of no one, the league was too slow to react.
This brings me to the other names drafted. Reden Celda, Joseph Eriobu, and Gelo Alolino have better rookie seasons than most of the Gilas cadets.
I can’t help but wonder if it’s okay for the league to just give most of the Gilas core to teams in dire need of talents like Mahindra, Phoenix, and Blackwater? Okay… sure Phoenix aren’t as bad as people predicted this season but one factor for their surge is Matthew Wright. The Fuel Masters gave Wright the tools to blossom. Mahindra dismantled their franchise to obtain free agents… and there was a time when Narvasa himself questioned the team’s capability to win.
Like I said – why can’t they just make the draft a regular one?
So did you like number three?
Number two is coming… and it’s going to be goddamn pretty!
So check it out!