Some Familiar Power Forwards in the 2013 PBA Draft

The 2013 PBA Draft is touted to be one of the best of all time, especially when one talks of potentially dominant big men and playmakers. Guys like Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, and Raymond Almazan have been getting tons of ink lately, while the likes of Terrence Romeo, Jeric Teng, and RR Garcia can shake up the backcourt power structure of the pro league as we know it.

The same, however, cannot really be said about one particular position – the Power Forward position. A quick look at the list of draft hopefuls this year reveals that the 4 spot isn’t as deep as the other prototypical basketball positions. This is a little ironic, since three power forwards won separate MVP plums this past season – Ranidel De Ocampo was Finals MVP for the 2013 Philippine Cup, Arwind Santos was named season MVP, while, most recently, Marc Pingris was adjudged Finals MVP. Simply put, the PF position has usually been a source of depth in the PBA (I mean, look at the careers of Alvin Patrimonio, Danny Ildefonso, or even Nelson Asaytono). Sadly, I doubt if we will find new super 4s in the current crop of rookies.


Eric Camson might be the most complete PF in the
2013 PBA Draft.
(image by Jan Dizon)

To illustrate how shallow the PF pool is, there are hardly any other really ringer names here outside of Eric Camson, Nico Salva, Mark Bringas, and Mike Parala. I guess Dave Najorda sounds familiar only because his brother (Leo IS his bro, right?) is in the PBA. Nevertheless, let us take a quick look at some intriguing rookie hopefuls – some familiar Power Forwards in the 2013 PBA Draft.



4. Mark Bringas (Far Eastern University)
Bringas didn’t have really impressive numbers in his last two seasons with FEU – just a combined 3 points, 3 rebounds, and not much else in just over 10 minutes per outing. What he lacks in production, however, he more than makes up for in bravado and the degree of hurt he can lay down on opposing forwards. He’s not a game-changing type of player, and I don’t think he ever will be, but with the proper mindset, and given the proper situation, I think he can be a long-time enforcer in the PBA. Realistically speaking, though, I see the former Tamaraw going undrafted.


3. Mike Parala (Mapua Institute of Technology)
Parala might be the Justin Chua of the 2013 Draft PF hopefuls. I mean, he was mighty impressive in his last year with Mapua, norming 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block per game. That’s a near double-double with one block to boot! Why do I think that had he played for a more matunog program that he would actually have better draft stock this season? Though Parala played center for the Cardinals, I think the 25 year-old will slide down to PF in the pros. This is because there are just too many quality slotmen right now, and at around 6’4-6’5, he will really need to learn to play as a 4. I have him going late second round… if he’s lucky.

2. Nico Salva (Ateneo de Manila University)
Okay, before all you Ateneo diehards (for the record, I am one of you guys) and @nickobesalva followers (yep, still one of you guys) react irrationally with your “Salva is #1!” chants, hear me out. Most people will focus on the fact Salva is “not number one” on this list instead of seeing that he is “number two.” Remember that number two is NOT a bad thing, and here’s why. Salva is a great offensive player. He might be the most skilled offensive operator on this very short list, but don’t forget that he plied his trade in the UAAP, where PFs were either the same size as him, or bigger but slower. The big question mark for Salva is can he continue to be offensively effective once he goes up against the likes of Arwind, Ping, or RDO? Methinks that maybe the only way Salva will consistently get buckets is if he is left open from 15-18 feet, and that won’t happen often. Also, if one flips the script, can Salva actually defend players who are taller AND faster than he is? I mean, Salva is listed at 6’4, but COME ON. No way he’s that tall. KG and J-Wash will shoot over him. Ditto with RDO and Cliff Hodge. Salva is good, and he may find a niche in the PBA, but I don’t think he will be a superstar (at least not unless he shifts his style of play dramatically).

1. Eric Camson (Adamson University)
Yes, Camson’s Season 74 numbers were better than his Season 75 stats, but that’s simply because he’s not the type of guy who thrives as the main man. He is a number two or three scorer ala Carlos Boozer, and that is something he can be in the pros (or he could also be a tremendous waste of a pick, depending on how hard he works). In his last two seasons in the UAAP, Camson averaged close to a double-double – 12.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. The most intriguing stat, however, is this – Camson shot just under 40% from three-point range, too. In Season 75, in fact, Camson connected on 40.4% of his threes, making 1.4 treys per outing. Now, how does that affect his chances? Well, let’s see how many PFs in the PBA can shoot the three – we have Arwind, KG, Hodge, RDO, J-Wash… you get the picture, right? I’m not saying Camson will be as good as those guys, but, hey, his numbers are very promising. And, unlike Salva, Camson has the size to match-up with most pro PFs. That’s why he’s currently the best PF in this bunch.

  
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9 Comment
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Masakit sa mata yung combination ng backgroud at font color mo. can't last 2 mins. in your page.

Balas
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Missed out on Robby Celiz. Should have included him here.

Balas
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Salva will probably play SF in the PBA and is he has the skill set to do so

Balas
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I think Salva's playing SF will depend on whether he improves/adds a few key things: his ball-handling, his pull-up J, and his ability to defend the PBA's taller/faster SFs.

Balas
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Hodge doesn't shoot threes. -___-

Balas
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15/46 threes in 14 games this past conference. That's more than 3 attempts and more than 1 make per game. He shoots better than 32% from the field. Umm… so he actually does shoot threes.

Balas
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You might say that, but with those stats, are we really going to put him with the likes of RDO and Canaleta?

Balas
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Using the Govs' Cups stats as the sole basis, I definitely would. I see Hodge's improvement from a one-dimensional high-leaper to a more versatile stretch 4 to continue well into the next season.

I think he has seen the kind of PF that "works" in the PBA -- RDO, KG, Arwind (Ping is completely different, of course) --, and he has taken it upon himself to mold his game a little closer to theirs. He shot about as well as KG did from long distance this past conference, and much better than RDO. Hodge had a better EFF rating than RDO and had the second-best EFF among rookies (besting even Calvin Abueva). Of course, the disclaimer is RDO was coming off a grueling FIBA Asia grind (but so was Ping, right?).

In a similar way to how June Mar Fajardo has shown really big strides in his game as the season progressed, we can say that Hodge's game has improved quite significantly, too.

The point is we can no longer shake our heads when we say Cliff Hodge can be a great PF in this league. He has the athleticism, the size, the tenacity, and, just recently, the range to make a big leap next season. Can't sleep on this kid.

Balas