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    Winners, losers: PBA Draft turns from good to great for Ginebra

    May 17, 2022

    A TOTAL of 52 applicants heard their names called and those present walked up the stage during the PBA Season 47 Rookie Draft last Sunday.

    Now comes the hard part as they all try to land roster spots and prove that they are all indeed worthy of seeing even a minute of action in the pro league.

    Still, one team's haul is better than the others and Spin.ph is here to dissect who won and who lost in the annual draft process.



    It's very rare that a consistent championship winner like Ginebra can go as high as No. 8 in a PBA Rookie Draft. But that's exactly what happened to the reigning Governors Cup champions who used the selection on Gilas Pilipinas player and Japan B.League gunner Javi Gomez de Liano. The story doesn't end there. Less than 48 hours after the draft, Ginebra was able to pull off a major trade by acquiring No. 2 pick Jeremiah Gray from Terrafirma in exchange for Javi and Brian Enriquez, a Ginebra draftee from last season who played just 13 games in his rookie year. Talk about a good draft turning into a great one? This is it.

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    Converge with its draftees Justin Arana and Jollo Go.


    WINNER: Converge

    FiberXers coach Jeffrey Cariaso nailed it in the head when he said that his side added two of the three top bigs in the pool.

    Adding Jeo Ambohot at three and Justin Arana at four, Converge fortified its frontline with scrappy big men from the NCAA who won't hesitate to bang bodies down low.

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    It's still not the June Mar Fajardos or the Japeth Aguilars that are among the league's best, but in a competition where height is might, the FiberXers may just spring some surprises in their first season in the PBA.

    Gian Mamuyac Rain or Shine

    WINNER: Rain or Shine

    Rain or Shine has always had a reputation of being good drafters and this year is no different.

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    Gian Mamuyac could be argued as the best guard in this draft thanks to his improved offense, while Ildefonso is as hardworking as they come, traits that are more than welcome in the Elasto Painters camp. It's also for these reasons why the two were enlisted to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool.

    Jhonard Clarito, thanks to his showing with the San Juan Knights, is a proven winner, and the later picks of RJ Ramirez and Rhaffy Octobre should make the fight for roster spots all the more intense at Rain or Shine.

    WINNER: Phoenix

    Talk about getting the bang for your buck.

    Not picking until the second round, the Fuel Masters couldn't have made better selections with all of their targets falling in their lap.

    Tio is arguably the best shooter in the field, Lalata is an undersized yet defensive-minded big man in the mold of a Rafi Reavis, and Encho Serrano is an automatic bucket hardened by his stints in the NBL, MPBL, and PBA 3x3.

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    Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser

    A BIT OF A WINNER: Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser

    Ganuelas-Rosser was a no brainer of a top pick for Blackwater following the withdrawal of Justine Baltazar and the exit of Sedrick Barefield.

    With Ganuelas-Rosser standing at 6-foot-6, he is looked at as the big that the Bossing has long coveted to finally get an inside presence. However, there's a big question mark if his skillset will match the expectations of coach Ariel Vanguardia.

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    A capable inside-outside threat, Ganuelas-Rosser must now ramp it up on the defensive end if Blackwater envisions it the same way that it did when it had Poy Erram. He's still a young 23, but that's a tremendous pressure to bear on your shoulders especially for a team looking to get out of the cellar.

    A BIT OF A WINNER STILL: Javi Gomez de Liano

    Gomez de Liano's name wasn't that loud in the coaching circles heading into the draft and that surprisingly muted feedback led to him landing to Ginebra at eight.

    A three-and-D threat with an impressive reach, the University of the Philippines forward is a can't miss talent that fits perfectly in the Gin Kings' wing rotation as he learns from Joe Devance and team up with Aljon Mariano and Arvin Tolentino.

    That was until he was traded on Tuesday to Terrafirma alongside Brian Enriquez.

    It's a tough confidence blow for the 6-foot-5 gunner considering how his lone season in Japan panned out, but things may not really be that bad as he can definitely get the minutes to prove his worth with the Dyip.

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    Jeremiah Gray

    DEFINITELY A WINNER: Jeremiah Gray

    Don't be surprised to see Gray back in action earlier than his January target. The No. 2 selection was just traded from Terrafirma to Ginebra, making his goals of playing for the crowd favorites a dream come true.

    With the Gin Kings, the 6-foot-3 guard can afford to heal up as long as he could before he can seamlessly come in to an already powerhouse team and find his niche alongside the Scottie Thompsons and the Stanley Pringles.

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    Talk about the rich getting richer.

    LOSER: Terrafirma

    Without a doubt. From having a crucial piece in Jeremiah Gray to add to a promising core that included former No. 1 pick Joshua Munzon, Juami Tiongson, Ed Daquioag, Isaac Go, Andreas Cahilig and Alex Cabagnot, the Dyip settled for Javi, Enriquez, and draftees Allen Mina (third round), Shaq Alanes (4th), Sandy Cenal (5th) and Red Cachuela. Not much of a downgrade, right? Wink wink.

    Encho Serrano

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    Serrano, expected to be a first rounder if not part of the top five, surprisingly slid to the second round where he was taken 19th overall by Phoenix.

    It's a shock to see him fall that low, but considering that teams made a mad dash to add ceiling from the rookie pool, his slide made a lot more sense.

    Nonetheless, landing in the Fuel Masters couldn't be any better for the Kapampangan guard who gets a chance to prove his worth to coach Topex Robinson who understands how good he is and likes how he plays as early as his collegiate days.

    LOSER: NorthPort

    With the top prospects' pull out at the top, those in the middle of the first round were bound to suffer.

    That was the case for NorthPort which missed out on the likes of Jeo Ambohot and had to settle with JM Calma at six.

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    Calma is still a serviceable yet undersized big, make no mistake about it, but shoring up the Batang Pier's frontline - considering the field that we have - has proven to be a difficult task and they learned it the hard way.



    Tyrus Hill was a baffling selection at seven, yet it's the kind of surprise picks that Yeng Guiao-coached teams have been known for. Remember, Maverick Ahanmisi over Scottie Thompson back in 2015?

    The physical gifts for the former La Salle forward are there, which made him an intriguing selection for teams heading into the draft, but if we'll judge it on how he performed in the past, there's really not much to rave about.

    Not helping was that the coaches and scouts have not seen Hill in action for over a year now, with him even missing the Draft Combine last week. It's a high-risk, high-reward move, to say the least.

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    Hill, though, is on the move to Converge as he and David Murrell are set to be sent to the FiberXers in exchange for a future first rounder.

    LOSER: Guards

    The trend of favoring taller players over guards continued this year with the clubs overlooking the skills of the playmakers in favor of height.

    Gian Mamuyac could be argued as the lone guard to be picked in the first round. Gray and Lojera also fill guard positions but also spend time in the wings in their past clubs.

    It's the third straight draft that this happened as we see marquee guards slide in the succeeding rounds as teams make a mad dash in getting the tallest prospects available.

    One thing's clear if you're a guard making the leap to the PBA: make yourself so undeniable that teams can't afford to pass up on you.

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