The PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft will be held online on March 14. A record number 97 applicants, including a record 31 Fil-foreigners, submitted their names. Chuck Araneta, Carlo Pamintuan and Yoyo Sarmenta share their predictions for the first two rounds in ESPN5’s mock draft. Some names here are among the 18 Fil-foreigners who have until March 5 to complete their requirements, or else their names will be taken out of the pool.

Latest changes: With William Navarro now part of the special Gilas draft, Jerrick Ahanmisi has moved up from no. 15 to take his place at no. 12. Franky Johnson moves from 17 to 15, Nic Demusis from 22 to 17, and Andre Paras cracks the top 24 at no. 22.

Last updated on Feb. 15.

Table of Contents

First round

1. Joshua Munzon (Guard, 6’4”) – TerraFirma

In this draft class, there may be two players who are wired to go try and get 30 points every single game and Joshua Munzon is certainly one of them. With the departure of CJ Perez, Munzon will now be the focal point of the offense for the Dyip. He can definitely score but he has also shown the ability to create for his teammates. A lot of people are worrying about his transition back to the five-one-five game after playing 3×3 for a few years but it really should not be a problem. Munzon is a fiery competitor with international experience so he’ll be a great addition to any team, especially for one that needs a main man like TerraFirma. – Carlo Pamintuan

2. Jamie Malonzo (Forward, 6’6″) – NorthPort

The Batang Pier get one of the most athletic two-way players in the Draft in Jamie Malonzo. He showed just a taste of his potential in his one year with the La Salle Green Archers where he averaged 15.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. He should be a perfect pick and roll partner for the comebacking Robert Bolick, – Chuck Araneta

3. Calvin Oftana (Forward, 6’5″) – NLEX (from Blackwater)

Calvin Oftana’s skillset will become a valuable asset to any team he’ll be drafted into. He can do a little bit of everything on a consistent basis, which in today’s game, is a luxury. We also saw in his recent stint in Gilas that he can be a marksman from downtown while not being afraid of the pressure from playing in the national team. Specifically, the former NCAA Season 95 MVP’s growth from primarily playing the power forward position into a reliable three-man will fit perfectly for the NLEX Road Warriors. After the retirement of Cyrus Baguio and with Larry Fonacier not getting any younger, a player with Oftana’s caliber is a welcome sight. – Yoyo Sarmenta

4. Mikey Williams (Guard, 6’2”) – NLEX

At this point, the question for NLEX is would you rather pick the best talent available even if you already have a good set of players in that position or will you instead get a pick from a position you need to fill? Mikey Williams might be sharing the backcourt duties with the likes of Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas but NLEX capitalize on having the chance of getting a scorer like him. He can drive to the hoop but his main skill is really shooting from the outside so he’ll be the perfect shooting guard for a creator like Ravena because he’ll make the defense pay. – Carlo Pamintuan

5. Jason Brickman (Guard, 5’10”) – Rain or Shine

The Elastopainters have still been searching for a pure point guard to run the show since Chris Tiu retired. They’ve tried out different guards like Rey Nambatac and Kris Rosales at that position, but they’re at their best when they’re coming off screens or attacking. Brickman solves all their problems, as his supreme court vision should make life easier for everyone on the team. – Chuck Araneta

6. Taylor Statham (Forward, 6’6″) – Magnolia

If the Magnolia Hotshots are looking for a big man, Taylor Statham is one of the best there is in this year’s draft. He has a captivating combination of speed, power, and size for somebody who is 6-foot-6, 225-pounds. He is listed as a forward and his burly build will make you box him as a four, but he also has the range and ball-handling proficiency of a guard. In terms of experience, Statham has been well-versed in international 3×3 play as well as competing in Canada, Thailand, China, and Indonesia. He may enter as a rookie in the PBA, but he’s already a proven professional who can contribute immediately. – Yoyo Sarmenta

7. Larry Muyang (Forward/Center, 6’6”) – Alaska

The Aces have slowly been ramping up their frontcourt rotation with their past few moves. Having Abu Tratter, Rodney Brondial, and Barkley Ebona and possibly Vic Manuel is solid but adding another young big in Larry Muyang is still a great idea. With a great big man coach in Danny Ildefonso, the Aces can develop the bigs in their roster and Muyang should be a welcome addition as he can be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. – Carlo Pamintuan

8. Leonard Santillan (Forward, 6’4″) – TerraFirma (from SMB)

The Dyip need some frontcourt help to flank the rejuvenated backcourt that should have Munzon and Roosevelt Adams if nothing goes awry. Santillan would be a great piece for Terrafirma to build around because of his ability to space the floor with his midrange shot and perimeter-oriented game. The Dyip have to absolutely nail this pick, because they all but gave up CJ Perez for a shot at more depth with this pick. Could Santillan be the worthy investment that helps the Dyip finally head in the right direction? – Chuck Araneta

9. Alvin Pasaol (Guard/Forward, 6’2″) – Meralco

The Meralco Bolts made a huge offseason deal in adding Mac Belo into their roster and parting ways with Baser Amer. This meant adding more size in their lineup and should they add Alvin Pasaol, the Bolts will have more firepower and length at different positions. Imagine a five-man crew of 6-foot-2 and above wreaking havoc on both ends. They can have Chris Newsome at the point and have various combinations of Bong Quinto, Allein Maliksi, Raymond Almazan, Belo, and Pasaol. All those guys can shoot but they can also make stops and rebound when it matters. Pasaol’s all-around game will make Meralco better. – Yoyo Sarmenta

10. Jeremiah Gray (Guard, 6’6”) – Phoenix

Imagine a young Gabe Norwood with a reliable jumper. This is what Jeremiah Gray could be in the PBA. Although the leadership and defensive tenacity and ability of Norwood is still levels away from where Gray is right now, he certainly has the athletic tools to try and reach that lofty peg. He is also a prototypical Phoenix player in the sense that he can cover a lot of positions on defense like Calvin Abueva. – Carlo Pamintuan

11. Troy Rike (Forward/Center, 6’8″) – NorthPort (from TNT)

It may have taken longer for Rike to get acclimated to the Filipino game than expected, but somewhere there lies a player with a versatile offensive package. The former Wake Forest alum should benefit from mentoring from guys like Sean Anthony about the small forward position, where Rike could be projected. – Chuck Araneta

12. Jerrick Ahanmisi (Guard, 6’1″) – Ginebra

Jerrick Ahanmisi is a knockdown artist who is exceptionally adept in moving off the ball and through screens. He is not reliant on going on a hot streak to score (though he is fully capable), which means he’s the perfect guy if you need a quick two off a set play. Ginebra doesn’t really need scorers but they might take an interest in a shooter. Ahanmisi can space the floor as LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson penetrate the paint. The Gin Kings can invest on a young sniper as they transition life after Mark Caguioa and Jeff Chan. – Yoyo Sarmenta

Second round

13. Ben Adamos (Center, 6’7”) – NorthPort (from TerraFirma via NLEX)

Ben Adamos is good enough to be a first-rounder but if he somehow falls into the second round, then NorthPort should scoop him up immediately. His game still needs some polishing but he can be of help to the Batang Pier from day one with his size. He’s a solid rebounder and would be another strong presence defensively in the shaded area alongside Christian Standhardinger. – Carlo Pamintuan

14. James Laput (Center, 6’10”) – Blackwater (from NorthPort via Meralco)

All PBA Bubble long, the Elite had a glaring lack of productivity at the Center position, as Maurice Shaw hardly made an impact on the team. James Laput, who most recently plied his trade with Marinerong Pilipino in the D-League, is a big body that should provide some interior defense and scoring to a team that desperately needed it. He also told in an interview that his idol is June Mar Fajardo, and he can’t wait to go up against him. – Chuck Araneta

15. Franky Johnson (Guard, 6’2″) – Blackwater

Blackwater’s acquisition of Baser Amer will bring stability and playmaking at the point guard position. Now, imagine adding the scoring potency of Franky Johnson. A former Chooks 3×3 MVP, he’s a crafty bucket-getter who isn’t afraid to go up against bigger opponents in the paint. Ed Daquioag and Roi Sumang are scoring dynamos themselves, but at 6-foot-2, Johnson is taller. His size, together with his finishing ability at the rim, can cause mismatches for opposing teams. Blackwater needs another player who can create his own shot at the guard position and Johnson just might fit the bill. – Yoyo Sarmenta

16. Aljun Melecio (Guard, 5’8”) – Phoenix (from NLEX)

A problem for Phoenix in the last conference was that they relied on Matthew Wright so heavily as their main creator that when he got tired, his shooting was also affected. Adding a point guard like Aljun Melecio should alleviate some of that. He’s a tenacious defender who could make life miserable for the opposing guards and he has also shown his willingness to take and make big shots for his team. – Carlo Pamintuan

17. Nic Demusis (Guard-Forward, 6’4”) – Rain or Shine

Rain or Shine will get another Jericho Cruz type of player by using this pick to get Nic Demusis. He is one of the more athletic players in this draft class and could also be one of the sleepers of this batch. Demusis can shine under the Elasto Painters’ flexible offense, which has allowed youngsters like Rey Nambatac and Javee Mocon to be big factors early in their careers. – Carlo Pamintuan

18. Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser (Center/Forward, 6’7″) – Magnolia

Size is probably the most eye-catching trait of Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser. However, he is also deceptively quicker than a traditional big man. He posted quiet numbers during his time with Alab Pilipinas, but he showed flashes of hustle and tenacity that coaches love about a player with his height. If he can prove to be a workhorse in the PBA, he’ll have a long and successful career. – Yoyo Sarmenta


Top 5 UAAP players in the draft

Top 5 NCAA players in the draft

Top 5 non-UAAP/NCAA players in the draft

List of applicants

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19. RK Ilagan (Guard, 5’7”) – Alaska

Alaska already has a wealth of talent with their bigs so they can use their second-round pick on a guard. The release of MJ Ayaay and Abel Galliguez has opened up a spot for someone like RK Ilagan to come in and get decent minutes in his rookie year. Ilagan will fall into a great spot under the tutelage of JVee Casio and the system of coach Jeffrey Cariaso. He’ll benefit from the structure of the Aces who will get to maximize his smarts and shooting ability. – Carlo Pamintuan

20. Ken Holmqvist (Center, 6’8″) – NLEX (from SMB via NorthPort)

The Road Warriors are stacked at the guard and wing position, so getting a big man here would be a safe investment. The Fil-Norwegian didn’t exactly light the UAAP world on fire in his two years with the FEU Tamaraws in 2015 and 2016, but he showed flashes of potential when he was named tournament MVP of the 2016 PCCL. – Chuck Araneta

21. Alec Stockton (Guard, 6’2″) – Alaska (from Meralco via Phoenix)

After parting ways with MJ Ayaay, the Alaska Aces might want to take another crack at a lanky and fearless defender in Alec Stockton. If you’ve seen him play with the FEU Tamaraws, you know he’s a pit bull of a stopper. Looking at the Aces roster, a hard-nosed guard who doesn’t need the ball to be effective seems like a fit. You can even mold Stockton into somebody like a Jireh Ibañes who was an exceptional defender who didn’t care about scoring. – Yoyo Sarmenta

22. Andre Paras (Forward/Center, 6’4″) – Rain or Shine (from Phoenix)

Rain or Shine has always been a home to bruisers. They might not have a big name center other than Beau Belga but they make up for it with the depth of their frontcourt rotation. Getting Andre Paras could be beneficial to the Elasto Painters this late in the second round. He’s the type of player who will not demand a lot of playing time but will be effective as a rebounder for the spot minutes he’ll get from coach Caloy Garcia. – Carlo Pamintuan

23. Anton Asistio (Guard, 5’10”) – Rain or Shine (from TNT)

You can never go wrong with high IQ guard on your team, and that’s what the Elastopainters will be getting with Asistio. He proved he can run the show with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, and should be a reliable option for Coach Caloy Garcia to anchor the second unit when given the opportunity. – Chuck Araneta

24. Andrew Estrella (Guard, 5’11”) – Ginebra

Andoy Estrella made a living in the NCAA and MPBL through his scoring prowess. The stocky yet quick-footed guard has always had a worthy offensive arsenal throughout his young career. Obviously, there will be an adjustment period should he get drafted into the PBA as tougher defenders and better schemes make it hard for undersized players to score. Still, Ginebra can take a chance on this potent scorer similarly when they drafted Kent Salado. The Gin Kings don’t need a lot of tweaking in their roster, but adding a scoring option at the two-guard position will help in the long run. – Yoyo Sarmenta

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