Less than a week before the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft, 43 of the 44 applicants were given a chance to make last ditch efforts to impress scouts and coaches in the two-day 2017 Gatorade PBA Draft Combine.
As expected, cream always rises to the top and top-flight aspirants were able to standout from their peers.
But it didn’t stop the other aspirants from making a case for themselves in the hopes of getting picked come Sunday.
Here’s seven names who we feel made the most of the combine and shot themselves up in the draft board.
(1) Robbie Herndon – Guard (6-3, 24 years old, San Francisco State)
The Fil-Am scorer made a solid case for himself in the combine, thriving alongside fellow bluechip recruits and showed his potential as a solid contributor for any team that picks him.
Herndon’s outburst was no surprise for fans who have seen him play in the PBA D-League, but more than his offense, it was his playmaking and defense which shone the most which may just be enough to boost for his candidacy in the draft on Sunday.
(2) Lervin Flores – Center (6-5, 25 years old, Arellano)
In a field that doesn’t have much ceiling as compared to the batches prior, the Arellano center’s solid play stood out the most.
Flores’ defensive showing is a sight to behold, and although there are still quirks on his game that he needs to improve on, his effort make up for those deficiencies as he is seen to fare well once he makes it to the pros.
(3) Jett Manuel – Guard (6-2, 25 years old, UP)
All the UP standout needed was a chance, and when he was given one, he truly made the most of it.
Manuel brandished his full talent in the two-day combine, showcasing his elite playmaking ability as well as his deadly offensive game alongside higher touted peers.
Though he’s still confessedly a level below to the Kiefer Ravenas and Jeron Tengs of this batch, the 6-foot-2 guard remains as a decent selection, a dark horse perhaps, for any team looking for a shot of youth in the backcourt.
(4) Louie Vigil – Guard (6-3, 26 years old, UST)
If there’s one guy who truly made the most of the combine, it’s definitely Louie Vigil.
Surprising scouts with his improved all-around game, the UST stud was a threat from all over the floor as he made his teammates look better in the mini-tournament.
It remains to be seen, though, if his impressive outing will be enough to get him picked in the draft.
(5) Julian Sargent – Forward (6-3, 26 years old, La Salle)
Scouts and coaches may look at the stats, but the numbers do not perfectly elaborate how good Julian Sargent’s game was.
The Fil-Am forward was Mr. Intangibles in the two-day event as he did all the dirty work on defense for his teams.
But make no mistake, the La Sallian is still a threat on the offensive end, and with his improved conditioning, it shouldn’t come as a shock that teams are intrigued with what Sargent could do for their teams.
(6) Jon Gabriel – Center (6-6, 24 years old, Colegio de San Lorenzo)
Talk about coming out of nowhere.
Jon Gabriel tested his talents alongside famed counterparts and boy, did he deliver.
Showing that he could compete with not only the best of NAASCU, but his fellow amateurs as well, the Colegio de San Lorenzo bruiser turned a lot of heads with his solid play down low, which could be pivotal as he eyes to shoot up the draft boards come Sunday.
(7) Ervin Grospe – Forward (6-4, 23 years old, JRU)
Coming off a confidence-boosting campaign in JRU, Ervin Grospe may just have picked the right time to make the jump.
At 6-foot-4, the Bulacan native is still seen as undersized at his position, but it’s his grit that’s making him shine among his fellow big men, and if there are teams willing to gamble for hard-nosed players like Grospe, they may just have found their man.