BOCAUE — With the controversial trade between Kia and San Miguel getting the greenlight on Friday, the defending Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup champion now has the right to make top overall selection in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday.
The Beermen brass have politely declined to make a comment on who they will pursue at number one, but picking first is certainly a win-win situation for the proud franchise.
Christian Standhardinger has been the prospective number one pick since the list of the applicants has been released and he is indeed worthy of his hype.
Coming out of nowhere, the Fil-German forward has proven himself in his stints with Gilas Pilipinas in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, emerging as one of the hottest prospects in the amateur ranks thanks to his no nonsense game and deceivingly fast footwork.
The downside, however, is Standhardinger’s obligations with Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club in the ASEAN Basketball League which would keep out of the PBA until April just in time for the second conference.
Still, it’s going to be a scary sight to see Standhardinger pair up with four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo down low, giving the Beermen the deadliest frontcourt combo in the game today.
On the other hand, selecting Kiefer Ravena will further boost San Miguel’s already potent guard rotation as the two-time UAAP MVP will have a chance to learn and thrive with the triumvirate of Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter.
One of the smartest guards to ever lace up his sneakers, the 24-year-old’s career has been well documented since his days in Ateneo, which earned him slots in several national teams. He had also played in the NBA D-League, before deciding to make the jump to the PBA this year.
Whoever is left out of the two will certainly fall into NLEX’s lap with the Road Warriors set to add another foundational player at two.
But the draft is more than just Standhardinger and Ravena as the succeeding teams picking in the first round will still have a chance to nab a bluechip prospect in the 44-man pool.
Amateur standouts Jeron Teng and Raymar Jose, Fil-Am prospects Robbie Herndon, Davon Potts, and Julian Sargent, as well as collegiate studs Lervin Flores and Rey Nambatac are all touted to be selected early in the draft.
Blackwater will pick third, followed by Phoenix at four, Alaska at five, and GlobalPort at six.
The rest of the first round will be as follows: Rain or Shine, Phoenix, Star, TNT, Ginebra, and TNT once more.
The 2017 PBA Rookie Draft is on Sunday at Robinsons’ Place Manila in Ermita.
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