Petron taps 6-10 Fajardo No. 7 pick Tiu goes to RoSBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AS EXPECTED 6-foot-10 Cebuano June Mar Fajardo went to Petron Blaze as the No. 1 overall pick from a rich pool of talents in the annual Philippine Basketball Association Rookie Draft yesterday.
“I owe a lot to UC, but now I’m ready to take on a new challenge,” said the 22-year-old Fajardo, who played basketball only when he was in college at University of Cebu, where he finished a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
Fajardo, who was into billiards first, said he needs to improve on a lot of things like perimeter shooting and speed to make an impact in the star-studded Petron roster where he will join his childhood idol Danny Ildefonso.
San Sebastian’s explosive swingman Calvin Abueva expectedly went to Alaska. The 6-foot-3 Stag enhanced his reputation as last year’s MVP in the NCAA.
But things didn’t go as expected when Petron opted for Fil-Am guard Alex Mallari, and not the former Smart Gilas skipper Chris Tiu, who was picked No. 7 in the first round by reigning Governors Cup champion Rain or Shine.
There were five overseas-based players who were chosen in the first round alone. The process reached the sixth round with a total of 39 applicants getting drafted. It was the longest draft since 2003, when 40 players were picked led by top pick Mike Cortez.
The crafty, charismatic 5-foot-11 Tiu said he was happy to be reunited with chum Ty Tang.
“Rain or Shine is really close to my heart with Ty and boss Raymond (Yu),” said Tiu who was grade school teammate with Tang at Xavier.
“I’m glad to play for the team and coach Yeng (Guiao). I don’t have to worry about elbows,” added Tiu in jest.
Meralco went for Fil-Am center Clifford Hodge for the fourth pick before Barako Bull chose Far Eastern U’s Aldrech Ramos, whom they immediately traded to B-Meg in favor of a second pick in the second round, which they used to snag Dave Marcelo.
The Bolts also got 6-foot-3 Fil-Am Sean Anthony from B-Meg, which shipped him to Global Port Batang Pier in favor of the ninth pick in the first round, where the Llamados obtained Jason Deutchman.
Ginebra used its sixth pick to get 6-foot-5 slotman Chris Ellis. Then picking for the second time in the first round, it chose 6-4 Keith Jansen as No. 8. Global Port used its turn to take Vic Manuel.
Air 21 opened the second round by choosing Yousef Taha. After Barako Bull took Marcelo, B-Meg opted for Jewel Ponferada before Global Port tabbed Alfred Mandani. Barako Bull then acquired guards Lester Alvarez and Eman Monfortin in its back-to-back pick.
Meralco snagged another Kelly Nabong after Rain or Shine gave up its turn in exchange for the Bolts’ 2015 pick. Barako then netted Woody Co, Alaska Raffy Reyes and Talk ‘N Text Jaypee Belencion.
Simon Atkins found a team in Air21 at the start of the third round, before Alaska got Karl Dehesa. Barako Bull picked Ryan Boado, Meralco Janus Lozada, Petron Mark Sarangay, Global Port Mark Acosta, Rain or Shine Raymond Austria, Ginebra Jerick Canada, B-Meg Gian Chiu and TNT Edwin Escueta.