2013-2014 PBA Rookie Ladder as of April 19, 2014

With just two games left in the eliminations, we already know which PBA teams won’t advance to the quarterfinals (hello, GlobalPort and Barako Bull!), and we know which eight teams will make it. We also know which two teams will enjoy twice-to-beat advantages (whattup TNT and SMB!) and that the Gin Kings can still avoid a bottom two seed if they can give the Elasto-Painters a beatdown.

And what do all those things also mean? We can now look at which rookies really stepped up and made their marks this conference. Most of the guys on this list won’t shock PBA diehards, but slam dunk master Justin Melton slips out of the top five, while a GlobalPort big man makes the grade. Also, despite playing well of late, Eric Camson falls short, while another Raymond Almazan continues to really turn some heads. As for the others? Read on.

Big men rule our list of the top five rookies this conference!

As always, this list is principally based on the Efficiency Ratings (EFF) as calculated by the sublime stat website, PBA-Online.net. Once again, this measures production and NOT potential.

Anyway, here they are – the top five rookies right now in the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup as of (the morning of) April 19, 2014:

5. Justin Chua (GLO) - 3.9ppg, 1.9rpg, .500 FG%, 16.6 EFF
Best Commish Cup Game: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4/6 FG shooting
- Chua’s production suffered this conference mainly because Evan Brock gobbled up most of the frontcourt stats for the Batang Pier. Still, Chua had some solid outings, including dropping 10 markers on the Express in a loss. Chua has the size and skills to be a consistent moderate-to-heavy contributor in the future, though if he lands on one of the expansion teams next season, he might actually see his playing time and production balloon.

4. Terrence Romeo (GLO) - 8.7ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.6apg, 19.8 EFF
Best Commish Cup Game: 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 triples
- Romeo had a stretch of three games where he averaged about 15 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and more than 1 trey a game. And then he goes on to score just 1 point against ROS before missing GlobalPort’s lone W of the conference at the expense of Barako Bull. Romeo still has a Mark Caguioa ceiling in the cards, but he also still has to learn how to balance looking for his own shot and involving his teammates.

Terrence Romeo seems to have hit a snag in his rookie season.
His production has dipped considerably this conference.

3. Ian Sangalang (SMC) - 9.1ppg, 5.0rpg, .492 FG%, 24.7 EFF
Best Commish Cup Game: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 7/7 FG shooting
- With Marc Pingris missing SMC’s game against Meralco, a lot of people expected Ian Sangalang to drop a huge game. Instead, the former Golden Stag laid a big fat egg in 24 minutes of play. One game does not a basketball player make, though, so we cannot/should not judge him just on that. Sangalang’s body of work, in fact, is quite remarkable given how he plays behind arguably the league’s top PF (sorry, Japeth and Ranidel fans) and also moonlights at the slot at times. Mark my words, it won’t be long before either Ian or Ping gets traded and they shine even more on their own merit (of course, Ping could be the new Danny I who will fade away in time while Ian becomes the new Arwind who will continue to rise).

2. Raymond Almazan (ROS) - 7.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.0bpg, .600 FG%, 25.4 EFF
Best Commish Cup Game: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists
- If there were an award for Most Improved Rookie, I’d give it, hands down, to Almazan, who has just been ultra-efficient for coach Yeng. Case in point, this former Letran slotman recorded 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block in just 7 minutes of play against the Texters last week. SEVEN MINUTES. Imagine what he can do in a Philippine Cup game where he could play three or four times longer. And that wasn’t even his best game, too.

Lanky Letranite Raymond Almazan slams one home against the Express.

1. Greg Slaughter (GIN) - 11.5ppg, 7.6rpg, 1.0apg, 1.1bpg, .567 FG%, 32.1 EFF
Best Commish Cup Game: 20 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 9/12 FG shooting
- Here’s the scary thing about Greg Slaughter – he’s norming about 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block in his last three games for Ginebra. Meaning? It sure looks like he’s peaking just in time for the quarterfinals to begin. That’s bad news for any team, even the two at the top. Greg has the size, mobility, and skill-set to be a potentially overwhelming force on either end, and it sure looks like he’s headed in that direction sooner rather than later.

Gregzilla is gaining steam for the Gin Kings.

Outside looking in:
Jeric Fortuna (BAR) - 16.6 EFF
Eric Camson (AIR) - 16.3 EFF
Justin Melton (SMC) - 15.9 EFF

All images are by Paul Ryan Tan and Paolo Papa/Sports 5.

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