2015 PBA Draft: The Sleeper Picks

In a few days, we will have the 2015 PBA Draft, where some of the most talented and most exciting young hoopsters will have a shot at making the big time and cracking the PBA. It’ll be interesting to see who gets picked and at which spot. Which teams will look better with their rookies, and which ones will make us shake our heads? 

In my previous posts, I looked at some of the best big men, wingmen, and point guards available in this draft, but now I will focus on some of the relative unknowns — the sleeper picks — among this draft class. 

It’s a well-known fact that in almost every rookie crop, there are players who get picked relatively low and yet perform way beyond expectations. We’ve seen this happen countless times in the NBA, and, likewise, we’ve also observed the same in the PBA. Some good examples are Justin Melton, Ping Exciminiano, LA Revilla, Rome dela Rosa, and, most notably, Brian Heruela. All those guys were drafted after the first round and yet have been able to be solid contributors for their respective teams. Heruela, in particular, has been outstanding — a borderline all-star in his rookie campaign. He also ended up among the top five point guards of the season, at least in terms of statistics.

For the 2015 rookie class, let’s look at some names that will probably be picked after the first round but may also make significant contributions for their clubs.

1) Ryan WETHERELL - 6’0, Cal State Los Angeles, 27 years old
- Wetherell is a bit of an unknown, but if he’s even just half as good as he’s billed to be, then any team that will pick him should have a solid young prospect in its hands. Like several other guys on this list, he impressed in the 2015 Draft Combine, and he also has great size for a point guard in the PBA.

2) Jerramy KING - 5’10, Cal State University, 24 years old
- Like Wetherell, King made a lot of PBA observers take notice in the Draft Combine as he was among the top performers in the Vertical Leap and Reaction Time tests. With his natural athleticism, King should help easily compete at a high level in the pros. 

3) Josan NIMES - 6’3, Mapua, 24 years old
- The Mapua swingman is currently among the best scorers in Season 91 of the NCAA. He is third overall behind Brigh Akhuetie and Art dela Cruz, while also being among the top 5 in assists with 5.4 per contest. That kind of production can definitely benefit any club out there, and, at 6’3, he has great size to be a PBA wingman.

4) Glenn KHOBUNTIN - 6’4 - National University, 23 years old
- This former Gilas cadet has overflowing tenacity and swag, but he’ll need to develop a more consistent perimeter game for him to be a solid rotation player. Glenn will probably have to adjust to being more of a swingman than a power forward, which may dilute his productivity, but his energy and activity should make coaches happy.

5) Leo DE VERA - 6’4, San Sebastian, 26 years old
- A 6’4 swingman who can drain threes? Sign me up. Consistency will be the main issue for a guy like De Vera, but if he is placed in a system where not much is expected of him except to sink those long toms, then he should be quite impressive. As with many guys on this list, it’s all about finding a niche for De Vera.

6) Bradwyn GUINTO - 6’6 - San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 23 years old
- The San Sebastian big man has great size and physicality — two things that surely won’t hurt his chances in the PBA. He’s by no means a 20-10 (or even 10-7) guy at this point, but he has the physical tools to develop into one in the future. Hey, if Bryan Faundo could emerge as one of the most productive big men this past season in the PBA, someone like Guinto could possibly do the same, right?

7) Michael MABULAC - 6’4, Jose Rizal University, 23 years old
- Mabulac is a bruiser in the truest sense of the word. His size is a bit of a handicap at his position in the pro level, but with a bot of hard work, he may be a vital role player for a lot of PBA teams. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, this former JRU big man may end up having a career as long and a fruitful as, say, Reynel Hugnatan’s.

8) Michael Vincent DI GREGORIO- 6’1, McKendree University, 24 years old
- Di Gregorio is a mystery for a lot of PBA fans, but, like Wetherell and King, he also impressed a lot in the Combine, finishing in the Mythical Five along with Mabulac, Khobuntin, Norbert Torres, and Kevin Racal. At 6’1, he has the size to play both guard spots in the pros, and should merit at least a couple of conferences of action before we can really say if he has the stuff. Also, 43% 3pt shooting in the D-League? Nice. 

9) Almond VOSOTROS- 5’10, DLSU, 25 years old
- Speaking of 3pt shooting, Vosotros is certainly top-of-mind in that department. He has shone fine outside shooting throughout his UAAP career and his recent stint with the Gilas Cadets. He has been under-the-radar of late, but constant exposure through the UAAP means he will also be constantly in the minds of PBA coaches and managers. His size and speed are both concerns at the pro level, but, hey, those are things that can still be honed. 

10) Kevin RACAL- 6’3, Letran, 24 years old
- Racal is a promising prospect because of his size, his fearlessness, and his knack for putting the ball in the hole. My impression is he is a natural scorer no matter which defender is right up on his grill. At 6’3, he also has the size to be a contentious player at both wing positions. Intriguing indeed.

Other intriguing prospects:
Joshua CUBILLO- 6’4, Cal State Fullerton, 27 years old
Aljon MARIANO- 6’3, UST, 23 years old
Keith AGOVIDA- 6’2, Arellano, 25 years old
Kris ROSALES- 6’0, Hope International, 24 years old
Abel GALLIGUEZ- 5’9, John Brown University, 25 years old
Mark CRUZ- 5’5, Letran, 23 years old

Next Post »
0 Comment