The Top Five Point Guards in the 2013 PBA Draft

The projected first three picks in the 2013 PBA Draft are all going to play center in the pros, but most of the remaining marquee players who should be picked in the first two rounds play in the backcourt. To be more specific, these diminutive dribblers are of the playmaking kind. These are the guys tasked to bring up the ball, call the plays, and find their teammates in their sweet spots.

These are the point guards, otherwise called the floor generals – the guys who, among other things, are supposed to be the coach’s eyes and ears on the court.

In this, the last of our five-part look at the 2013 PBA Draft Class, we will look at the most promising point guards. Apart from the rookie centers, it is in this set where we may find the ones who will make the most immediate and lasting impact on their respective teams.


Terrence Romeo could be a role-defying
star PG in the PBA.
(image from Yahoo! Sports/NPPA)

The PG is the person tasked with making his teammates look better on the floor, and all of the following will make that happen.

Well, maybe except for one (wink wink).



5. Anjo Caram (San Beda College)
What I absolutely love about this former Red Lion is that he is so damn fearless. It doesn’t really matter if the guy in front of him is a few inches taller or wider. Caram almost always finds a way to get past his man and make a beeline to the basket. And if he does get halted, he has enough range to stroke from long distance. His daring and his skill-set are both reminiscent of another small guy who recently made waves in the PBA – Ateneo alum Emman Monfort. Remember Monfort having a couple of games where he torched the nets for Barako Bull? Yep, I think Caram has that kind of potential. I don’t see him as starter material right off the bat (definitely not), but with the proper grooming, he could be a dynamo in the pros.

4. Justin Melton (Mount Olive College)
All we really need to know is that Melton is 5’10, but he was tied for second-highest vertical in the 2013 PBA Rookie Camp. He drew with Adamson’s Alex Nuyles and was an inch behind 7-footer Greg Slaughter. When Melton leapt, it was like a cork popping from a win bottle. He just flew. Everyone who saw it this past Monday at the Gatorade Hoops Center just gasped in awe. I mean, it was literally unbelievable that a guy that short could reach MUCH higher than guys who stood 6’3 or 6’4. Melton isn’t a one-trick pony, though. In his first and only season in the ASEAN Basketball League, where he donned the colors of the Malaysia Dragons, Melton normed about 10 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. That includes his scoring about 21.0ppg in the semifinals against the Indonesia Warriors and their superb PG Mario Wuysang. The only chinks in Melton’s game are his FT shooting (57%) and his turnover rate (nearly 3 per game). I don’t think Melton is starting material right now, but with a bit of polishing we might be looking at the Spud Webb or Nate Robinson of the PBA.

3. RR Garcia (Far Eastern University)
I feel sorry for RR in a way, because after starting his UAAP career in a big way (he was MVP in Season 73), he practically settled for second fiddle behind wunderkind (or ball-hog depending on your perspective) Terrence Romeo. Still, despite having such an… interesting teammate, Garcia continued to be effective for the FEU Tamaraws (and for NLEX in the D-League and Sinag Pilipinas, too). In the seasons after his lone UAAP MVP season, Garcia normed about 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game. He made just under 2 triples per game and shot nearly 80% from the line. Great numbers all around, of course, but one cannot help but think about how even better they could have been had he been on a different team, or had Romeo not been there. Now with a shot at the PBA, it’s quite likely Garcia will finally move away from Romeo’s imposing shadow and be able to carve his own niche. Given the depth of pro point guards, however, I don’t really see Garcia as an immediate starter (unless maybe Barako Bull or Ar21 can get him). Still, he has the skills to have staying power in the PBA. Can you imagine Jonas Villanueva and Simon Atkins looking over their shoulders now?

2. Jeric Fortuna (University of Santo Tomas)
Fortuna, at least to my eyes, is the best pure playmaker of the 2013 Draft Class. He didn’t post impressive numbers in his only pro stint so far – 3 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game with the now defunct San Miguel Beermen in the 2013 ABL season. He did, however, impress in his last two seasons with the UST Growling Tigers, averaging 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and more than 1 triple per game while also shooting 77% from the line. His scoring dipped from 13ppg in Season 74 to just over 8ppg in Season 75, but that was fine because he was maybe the finest rebounding PG in the league and led the field in assists – 5.1apg. I can see Fortuna easily blossoming into a superb back-up/pinch-hit starting PG in the PBA no matter where he ends up. He has great handles, great vision, and is a really streaky shooter – all of which are in high demand. Right now, I seem him as a less feisty version of Josh Urbiztondo, but, hey, he could be just as good as JV Casio when the time comes.

1. Terrence Romeo (Far Eastern University)
Don’t sleep on the current UAAP MVP as maybe a candidate for the Rookie-of-the-Year. The upcoming ROY race has been crowded by the likes of Slaughter and Sangalang, but, again, Romeo has enough talent and chutzpah to just pull the rug from under both giants. I mean, look at his last three UAAP seasons:

Season
Points
Rebounds
Assists
Steals
Season 74
11.4
4.8
3.2
0.8
Season 75
18.5
5.5
3.5
1.4
Season 76
21.7pg
5.9
3.9
1.6
*all stats are averaged per game (duh).

Conclusion? This much maligned and grossly misunderstood hoopster has gotten, and continues to get, better every year. Will entering the pros stunt his growth? I doubt. I see him being a playmaking/scoring hybrid ala Paul Lee, which is why I put him up as a PG. He’s probably going to piss off his coach by going away from the gameplan. He’s probably going to piss off his teammates by taking those ill-advised fastbreak threes. BUT the guys he will piss off the most are his foes, who will be content to just hear the ball tickle the twine after Romeo shoots (it won’t always happen, but it will happen often enough). What will make Romeo such a superb performer in the PBA is the same thing that made guys like Allen Iverson (he just formally retired FYI), Kyrie Irving, and Steph Curry such wonderful cagers to watch in the NBA – he has no conscience. Will this be enough to make him ROY (or eventual MVP in the years to come for that matter)? Hell no.

But it’s a great start.


Now, other PGs we have to watch out for are LA Revilla, Jens Knuttel, and Darwin Cordero. Revilla shocked most people (if not all people) by deciding to forego another season of UAAP eligibility and entering his name in the draft. Revilla has the chops to excel, though. He is a great playmaker and a decent enough shooter. Comparisons to another DLSU product, TY Tang, have surfaced and are actually warranted. Knuttel, for his part, won’t wow the crowds with his handles or his scoring, but he is a serviceable PG who has solid fundamentals and, well, he follows instructions. Every coach needs a guy who follows his orders, especially when things are spiraling out of control on the hardwood, and Knuttel has the potential to be that kind of stabilizing force. Will that be enough for him to get picked in the first two rounds? Given the younger talent pool… I highly doubt it. Cordero is a wild card, but he has a great story and a lot of fellow southern hoopsters have already vouched for him. He’s worked out with a couple of teams, and, word through the grapevine is, he has turned some heads. He’s reportedly quite athletic (his vert was measured at 10 feet and 8 inches, which was bested by just 15 of the other 84 rookie hopefuls), and has great ball-handling skills. I highly doubt he’ll be tagged in any of the first 20 picks, but he’s on my list of post-second-rounders.


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2 Comment
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PGs are ball-handlers who are capable of setting up teammates first before themselves. Paul Lee is a scorer in the most purest sense of the word. He can tween at both guard spots, but never truly excel at setting up teammates. You compare Terrence Romeo to Paul Lee, which is in my opinion, a solid comparison to say the least. And yet here we are, in a list of PGs for this draft, with Romeo at NUMBER 1. Am I missing something? Is there a gas leak in Hoopnut HQ? The only time we can count Romeo's assist is when he passes the ball to the hoop. And historically, we call that a point and not an assist. Pakiexplain. Lab u

Balas
avatar

CONVENTIONAL PGs are ball-handlers who are capable of setting up teammates before themselves. Feel free to replace conventional with CLASSIC, TYPICAL, or even ART DECO.

Romeo and Lee are definitely two guys who don't fit into that mold, but that's not enough to say they aren't PGs still. They are just two of a kind -- a different/unique kind of PG. It's the kind of PG that would make purists (like me) pull their hair out in frustration (Larry Brown, that's your cue).

Does being an atypical PG make one less of a PG? I don't think so. I think John Stockton is a legit, typical PG who is a lock for top five all-time. I think someone like Jacque Vaughn was also a legit, typical PG in his time who is now leading the Magic in tanking for Wiggins. AI wasn't a typical PG, ditto with guys like Marbury or, more recently perhaps, even Irving and Curry. They get a lot of flak for being shoot-first types, but why try too hard to reinvent themselves when they can just be even better at what they're already excellent at? Different schools of thought, I guess.

My school of thought is this: Romeo is a point guard -- a shoot-first, devil-may-care, piss-at-the-critics, here's-my-middle-finger-I-will-shoot-this-transition-three-if-I-want-to point guard.

But he is a point guard.

And the best one in this bunch.

Balas