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    Who will go where? We try to predict the first round in this PBA mock draft

    Dec 15, 2018
    With CJ Perez, Ray Parks, and Robert Bolick expected to be called in the top thee picks, Bong Quinto, Abu Tratter, Trevis Jackson, and Javee Mocon are all gunning for the next best thing.

    THE moment of truth has come for the 47 aspirants as the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft rolls on Sunday at Robinson's Midtown in Ermita, Manila.

    All their efforts and hardwork from their collegiate careers, to their other travails have led to this as they hope that one of the 12 PBA ballclubs roll the dice on them and hear their names called up the stage.

    But before the pageantry, Spin.ph takes a shot at predicting who will land in the first 12 selections of this year's class.

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    1. COLUMBIAN - CJ Perez (G/F)

    The future of Columbian's franchise will now be vested on the shoulders of the NCAA Season 93 MVP as he tries to replicate his success from Lyceum to the long-suffering Dyip.

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    There might still be a debate if he's really the best this class has to offer, but hearing what the top brass have said time and again of Perez, it seems like there's really no question when it comes to the management's minds.

    Seen as the team's cornerstone in the long run, Perez' entry bodes well for Columbian's youth revolution together with guys like Jerramy King and Rashawn McCarthy.

    1. BLACKWATER - Bobby Ray Parks (G/F)

    At long last, the second-generation star is bound for the pro league and Parks will have a tall task ahead of him to fulfill the role of the go-to-guy for Blackwater.

    Experience is expected to be on the two-time UAAP MVP's side, a plus especially as he joins an Elite squad peppered with wily veterans who are seeking to more than just make a splash this year.

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    One thing's clear, though: this will be the most talented Blackwater squad ever brandished with Parks set to link up with JP Erram, Allein Maliksi, and Mike DiGregorio.

    1. NORTHPORT - Robert Bolick (G)

    Adding one of the best two-way guards in the amateur level is no doubt a huge shot in the arm for NorthPort's backcourt rotation, giving Stanley Pringle a reliable partner he hasn't seen since Terrence Romeo's departure.

    Bolick is as feisty as they come, and after a forgettable start to his collegiate career in La Salle, truly blossomed into a reliable leader for San Beda in its championship runs in NCAA Seasons 93 and 94.

    There may still be questions if he could translate his game to the pros thanks to his lean frame, but what he misses in heft, he makes up with his intelligence.

    1. NLEX - Javee Mocon (F)
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    There's a reason why NLEX went out of its way to trade up the draft boards and it's because of the NCAA Season 94 Finals MVP.

    A perfect combination of size and versatility, Mocon fits just right with the Road Warriors, giving the team a dependable winger as well as a relentless defender.

    The San Beda forward may just be the injection of youth the aging NLEX needs, as he pairs up with Larry Fonacier, Jansen Rios, and Kenneth Ighalo.

    1. MERALCO - Abu Tratter (C)

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    Norman Black finally gets his hands on a center - the best big man in the field, for that matter.

    Tratter is one of the tallest in this bunch, and the La Salle slotman holds the experience edge over his peers, working with bonafide PBA stars before thanks to his stint with Gilas Pilipinas.

    His entry in the Bolts' lair comes at a right time as Tratter is sure to be paraded upfront to help aging bigs in Reynel Hugnatan, Bryan Faundo, and Ken Bono.

    MORE FROM SPIN
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      1. RAIN OR SHINE - Paul Desiderio (G)

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      What a way for Rain or Shine to find the replacement to the retiring Chris Tiu.

      Desiderio has established himself as a cult hero at this point after steering UP to the UAAP Season 81 Finals, and he's riding that wave of momentum on his way to the pro league.

      The Cebuano guard's arrival inserts him in the mix with Gabe Norwood, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Rey Nambatac as the Elasto Painters gain another dependable scorer-slash-playmaker.

      1. NLEX - Michael Calisaan (F)

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      Physicality, you say? The Golden Stag is one not to shy away from banging bodies down low despite standing only at 6-foot-3.

      Calisaan is one of the most rugged recruits in the field, pairing him perfectly with NLEX's Michael Miranda, Dave Marcelo, Raul Soyud, and Asi Taulava.

      Another thing working in his favor? The former San Sebastian standout's fearless mentality just in the mold of the players coach Yeng Guiao traditionally likes.

      1. RAIN OR SHINE - MJ Ayaay (F)

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      Versatility is one of the trump cards this Lyceum standout has in his favor heading to the draft and he may just have done enough to impress Rain or Shine.

      Ayaay's hustle has been on display since bursting to the scene in Lyceum and has continued that showing in the two-day Draft Combine.

      If he does indeed land in the Elasto Painters' camp, he joins an interesting mix of wingers in James Yap, Don Trollano, and Ed Daquioag.

      1. ALASKA - JJay Alejandro (G)

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      It doesn't hurt to add a gunner, and Alaska can't go wrong with a talent like Alejandro.

      The former NU Bulldog has shown time and again of his ability to be effective on the offensive end and has capitalized on his length on the defensive side.

      Alejandro's size also gives him a boost, a welcome addition for an Aces team which has Simon Enciso and JVee Casio at the point, as well as Chris Banchero, Jeron Teng, and Ping Exciminiano on their guard rotation.

      1. MAGNOLIA - Bong Quinto (F)

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      The do-it-all Letran forward landing this late in the first round could already be considered a steal, one which bodes all too well for a Magnolia team which is just one win away from the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup title.

      Quinto flaunts a good combination of size and smarts, as seen in his final year for the Knights where he constantly racked triple-doubles and lead his side to the NCAA Final Four.

      His selection will be heaven-sent for the Hotshots, giving coach Chito Victolero a bevy of options on the wing together with Rome Dela Rosa, Robbie Herndon, and veterans Aldrech Ramos and Bambam Gamalinda.

      1. COLUMBIAN - Trevis Jackson (G)

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      Don't let Jackson's size fool you. He's one of the most PBA-ready aspirants in the 47-man field.

      The Fil-Am guard from Sacramento has prepared himself for this moment, and opportunities are sure to be abound if he lands in Columbian.

      Jackson's playmaking will be a plus for the Dyip as he'll split time on the floor with guys like King, Reden Celda, and Dan Sara.

      1. PHOENIX - Jorey Napoles (F)

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      If you haven't heard his name yet, get familiar with him now.

      Playing with a chip on his shoulder game-in and game-out, Napoles carries the pride of the whole TIP as he tries to make some noise in the PBA.

      Phoenix knows all too well of the talent it's getting, as Napoles tries to bring his grit and hustle up front together with guys like Jason Perkins, Willy Wilson, Joseph Eriobu, and new acquisition Dave Marcelo.

      Honorable Mentions:

      JP Calvo (G)

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      The Draft Combine MVP proved that height doesn't necessarily mean might, showing impeccable playmaking and on-point sniping in the two-day showcase, the same with what he's done in Letran.

      Jeepy Faundo (C)

      This UST center has the size to battle with the bigs in the PBA, but must work on his heft, the same way his older brother Bryan did to have a lasting career in the pros.

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      Matt Salem (G/F)

      Arguably the best shooter among the crop, this former NU Bulldog is a winner through and through from his days in La Salle to Go for Gold in the PBA D-League.

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      With CJ Perez, Ray Parks, and Robert Bolick expected to be called in the top thee picks, Bong Quinto, Abu Tratter, Trevis Jackson, and Javee Mocon are all gunning for the next best thing.
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