AEL Banal became the top pick of the PBA regular rookie draft when he was selected by Blackwater even as Barangay Ginebra added more ceiling to its lineup by getting Jam Jamito with the No. 3 pick in Sunday's proceedings at the Robinsons Midtown mall in Ermita, Manila.
The 6-1 son of former PBA player and coach Joel Banal became the highest pick among the 53 aspirants outside the 12 players from the Gilas cadet pool - thanks to a strong showing in the Draft Combine where he reintroduced himself to PBA scouts after spending years playing college ball in the US.
Gelo Alolino, the star guard of National University's title-winning team in the UAAP in 2014, was taken at No. 2 by Phoenix where he was eventually reunited with former Bulldogs teammate Jeff Javillonar - 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.