MOST of the PBA coaches consider talented big man Mac Belo and prolific point guard Jio Jalalon as the top two prospects to emerge in the special draft involving Gilas cadets on October 30.
With the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks not included in the 12-man pool submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to the pro league for drafting, Belo, the King Tamaraw from Zamboanga who steered Far Eastern University to the UAAP men's cage title last year, has come out as the likely top pick among the national team members.
"If I could be like number one, I think Mac Belo is a clear standout," said Alaska's Alex Compton. "Every coach I've talked to have him as standout."
Meralco counterpart Norman Black also has Belo at the top of his list.
"From my observation Belo and Jalalon would be at the top two," said Black, fresh from steering the Bolts to a runner-up finish behind champion Barangay Ginebra in the recent Governors Cup finals.
Incidentally, both Compton and Black served as deputies to former Gilas coach Tab Baldwin during the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament where Belo and Jalalon served as part of the training pool.
New NLEX coach Yeng Guiao also goes for a Belo-Jalalon 1-2 draft pick, ditto for Jong Uichico of TNT Katropa.
Chris Gavina of Mahindra also ranks Belo, finals MVP of UAAP Season 78, high in his list, but mentions preferring two other big men in Arnold Van Opstal and Kevin Ferrer as part of his choices.
Uichico mentioned another FEU player in Mike Tolomia, but Guiao appeared intrigued with Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright.
Black said after Belo and Tolomia, it’s anybody’s guess from there, but disclosed he’s also quite interested at Wright and Van Opstal as do Guiao and Gavina.
“I must admit I have not personally seen much of Matthew Wright and would like to see more of him,” said the grand slam mentor.
“Also, I think Van Opstal will get a lot of attention because of his size.”
Although he keeps hearing the name of Jalalon as possible no. 2, Compton is also not discounting the likes of Van Opstal, Wright, Ferrer, and Roger Pogoy.
“It’s hard to keep it at no. 2,” said the mild-mannered Alaska coach.