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    Sabellina, Morrison, Heruela lead PBA rookie hopefuls tagged by coaches as 'diamonds in the rough'

    Aug 19, 2014
    The second batch of rookie hopefuls pose for posterity at the end of the PBA draft camp. Jerome Ascano

    THIS draft class may not be as thin as anticipated.

    Although not as bountiful as the 2013 pool which yielded the likes of Greg Slaughter and Ian Sangalang among others, this batch may be good enough to yield top prospects up to the 15th pick, acccording to Alaska assistant coach Louie Alas.

    The veteran coach said the entry of Gilas cadets led by his son Kevin and Matt Ganuelas Rosser has added a lot of depth to the 2014 pool.

    “Dati, nung hindi pa pumapasok yung NLEX boys, manipis. Pero ngayon tingin ko mga top 15 picks may asim yun. Mga quality players yun,” said Alas, who watched the two-day Gatorade Draft Combine with Alaska head coach Alex Compton.

    “Sa tingin ko with the talents that we saw sa rookie camp, you can never go wrong (in picking players) sa top 15,” he added.

    Among the unheralded players that made quite an impression in the pre-draft workouts, according to Alas, was former Boracay Rhum forward Maclean Sabellina.

    In the five-on-five scrimmage, Sabellina wowed the crowd with his scrappy performance, very reminiscent of former San Miguel Beer forward Freddie Abuda.

    “Yung Sabellina, marami ang ginulat. Kasi maganda ang ginalaw, saka para siyang si Abuda eh. Alam kung saan pupuwesto para sa bola,” said Alas of the 23-year-old, 6-foot-4 wingman. 

    Spin.ph caught a glimpse of Sabellina’s performance wherein he completed passes of teammates Juami Tiongson for back-to-back baskets including a dunk during the latter part of the 30-minute scrimmage.

    See a video of his performance here:

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    Camp director and veteran coach Bong Ramos admitted having seen a handful of promising talents who can be considered as diamonds in the rough.

    “Madami akong nakita. Siguro kung ipapatawag lang ng mga coaches mga 'yun, pwedeng madiskubre. Kasi may iba hindi masyadong nakagalaw dahil lahat gusto magpasikat,” said Ramos.

    Brian Heruela caught the eye of coaches in the draft camp. Photo by Jerome Ascano

    “Pero kung bibigyan mo ng atensyon, madaming may galaw na nakita ako,” he added.

    Among the players Ramos considers to have potential include guards Philip Morrison, Jeff Villahermosa, and Heruela.

    “OK mga 'yun. Si Morrison mataas ang basketball IQ, saka pass first siya. Point guard na point guard. Yung Villahermosa, nagulat din ako sa in-ensayo, magaling yung bata,” said Ramos.

    “Yung Heruela, mahusay rin. Malaki, malapad pero mabilis sa depensa, may shooting pa.”

    Ramos also tipped former San beda Red Lions big men David and Anthony Semerad and Kyle Pascual as among those sure to be drafted on Sunday at the Robinsons Place in Manila.

    “May chance na ma-draft ang mga yun. Malalaki eh,” he said.

    Ramos also gave special mention to some top performers during the first day of the rookie camp, among them Francisco Bonifacio, Kevin Ray Espinosa, Frank Golla, and Anthony Gavieres.

    “Scorer yung Bonifacio. Siya nga ang top scorer eh. Tapos yung Gavieres, Fil-Am na matangkad pero point guard ang laro. Yung Espinosa may outside shots at rebound,” added the former four-time Aspac champion coach in Indonesia.

    Asked how he sees the quality of the draft, Ramos sounded upbeat.

    “Yung mga bubunot sa third round, yung expansion teams, may aabutan pa rin sila. Kilatisin lang nilang maigi `yung mga talent. Maraming sleeper dyan,” he said.

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    The second batch of rookie hopefuls pose for posterity at the end of the PBA draft camp. Jerome Ascano
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