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    LIST: 10 draft hopefuls PBA teams can't afford to overlook

    May 15, 2022
    Shaun Ildefonso, Mamuyac, Lojera, Ambohot, Calma, Javi Gomez de Leano

    OUTSIDE of Blackwater's impending selection of Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser as the top selection in the PBA Season 47 Rookie Draft, intrigue is aplenty heading into Sunday's proceedings as teams to find the steals.

    Justin Arana, taking his hard-nosed ways from his final year in Arellano, and Jeremiah Gray, easily the consensus top pick if not for his ACL injury, are garnering looks as the likely two players to join Rosser in the Top Three.

    But until now, scouts and coaches are still keeping their options open as they hope to not miss out on a gem in the middle of this haystack. We help them take a closer look on diamonds in the rough in this massive 66-man field.

    Encho Serrano

    Encho Serrano

    The proof is in the pudding, and Serrano, despite an uneventful end to his run at La Salle, has showcased in full view how great of a player he is.


    From the National Basketball League (NBL), Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), to the PBA 3x3, the 6-foot guard from Apalit, Pampanga should be a solid addition for any team intent on beefing up its backcourt.


    Javi Gomez de Liano

    Despite not seeing much action in the past Japan B.League season, there's no question Gomez de Liano is one of this class' best shooters after making 35-percent of his shots from deep in his last season with University of the Philippines, a sky-high 50-percent in his brief time with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers, and 36-percent with the Ibaraki Robots.

    A bonafide three-and-D threat, the 6-foot-3 gunner should be welcome addition in the wing rotation of the team which picks him.

    Jeo Ambohot

    Jeo Ambohot

    Ambohot won't be present come draft day, but he's intent on heading to the PBA with two NCAA trophies to boot as he aims to help Letran win back-to-back crowns.

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    A one-time Gilas prospect, the 6-foot-7 forward has been stellar in his final year with the Knights as he presented himself as a stretch four who is a double-double threat -- just the confidence-boost he needs with teams aching to add more ceiling to their rosters.

    Gian Mamuyac

    Guards may be aplenty in the field, but the pesky Ateneo defender should be top of mind for teams thanks to his relentless motor on the defensive end.

    But the 6-foot-2 guard has also added more weapons to his game, being a better offensive player as evidenced by his 35-percent clip from deep as he cemented his place as a valuable piece in the Blue Eagles juggernaut. And better not forget his two big treys in Game 3 of the UAAP Finals against the UP Maroons.

    JM Calma PBA Draft Combine

    JM Calma

    Confidence has really been high for Calma who has seized every opportunity in his final year with San Sebastian.


    Consistently churning out double-doubles in his last year with the Golden Stags, the 6-foot-6 forward is presenting himself as a dependable scrapper on the floor, no different to the likes of his Baste seniors like Ian Sangalang and Michael Calisaan.

    Shaun Ildefonso

    No one else has benefited from the Draft Combine more than Ildefonso.

    Displaying his go-getter attitude bigger than his 6-foot-2 height, the second-generation star from National University was just on the attack in the two-day pre-draft workouts, delivering the intangibles that coaches covet from the aspirants.

    If somehow, Shaun vaults himself to the first round, credit that to his hardwork more than his surname.

    Chris Lalata

    Height is definitely might and Lalata turned a lot of heads thanks to his enduring motor during the Combine.

    The 6-foot-5 center from Olivarez College may not ring a bell for some, but his stints in the MPBL and in the 3x3 game showed how dependable of a defensive presence he is down low.

    Kurt Lojera

    Lojera truly did wonders in his final season with La Salle where he delivered solid numbers of 10.2 points and 4.0 rebounds.

    The 6-foot-1 stud's showing in the Combine also gave him a solid impression to coaches who really loved his athleticism in the guard and wing positions.

    Rhaffy Octobre

    Octobre's enduring motor was in full view in the Combine, turning a lot of coaches' heads who rarely see him play in the MPBL and VisMin Super Cup.

    The 6-foot-4 forward from Southern Leyte may not be an immediate gamechanger for teams, but adding an aggressive player who's ready to go from the onset never hurt anyone.

    Tyler Tio

    Teams determined to add a designated shooter should take a long hard look at Tio, the Xavier High School standout who balled out in his final season in Ateneo as he shot on a 32-percent clip from distance.

    The 6-foot gunslinger could be another weapon especially for teams desperate to add firepower to their lineups.


      Honorable Mentions:

      Jhonard Clarito (6-2, G, De Ocampo Memorial College)

      Jayson David (6-2, F, San Sebastian/Lyceum)

      Carlo de Chavez (6-3, F, Bloomfield)

      Tyrus Hill (6-5, F, Adamson/La Salle)

      Keith Zaldivar (6-6, F, Adamson)

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