AMA pulls off draft surprise, tabs little known Graham | Inquirer Sports

AMA pulls off draft surprise, tabs little known Graham

/ 05:05 AM December 13, 2017

AMA Online Education threw a curve ball and nabbed Filipino-Canadian forward Owen Graham as the first overall pick in the 2017 PBA D-League Draft Tuesday at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk.

Coach Mark Herrera put premium on familiarity in picking the little-known winger, who he believes can be a difference maker for the Titans.

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“He’s fast and he’s an all-around player. He already played for me in Naascu,” said Herrera, comparing his prized recruit to former PBA MVP Arwind Santos.

Graham and hardworking big man Andre Paras will be tasked to carry the load for AMA as it aspires to make a breakthrough and reach the semifinals for the first time this 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.

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Wangs Basketball-Letran picked Jerrick Balanza at second, Batangas-EAC went for Allan Richard Martin at third, CEU nabbed Keanu Caballero at fourth, Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum got CJ Perez at fifth, Gamboa-St. Clare selected Mohammed Pare at sixth, and JRU got Leonardo Esguerra at seventh.

Marinerong Pilipino tabbed Fil-Am Kyle Toth at eight, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian picked RK Ilagan at nine, Mila’s Lechon had Jose Romeo Bellosillo at 10, and Go for Gold-St. Benilde ended the first round with Kendrix Belgica at 11.

School-based teams Perpetual and Akari-Adamson passed on their picks during the draft proceedings.

Just like in past draft proceedings, most collegiate standouts got picked in the later rounds as D-League teams usually select the players from their partner schools.

University of the East’s Alvin Pasaol, a member of the Mythical Team this UAAP season, went to Marinerong Pilipino in the second round. The stocky forward highlighted his breakthrough year with a 49-point explosion that shattered the varsity league’s single-game scoring record.

Marinerong Pilipino also nabbed La Salle’s Abu Tratter and Ateneo’s Vince Tolentino.

Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian acquired Far Eastern University standout Arvin Tolentino and University of the Philippines’ Rob Ricafort.

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The draft proceedings lasted through 18 rounds which saw 124 players picked by the 13 teams.

The Aspirants’ Cup is set to tip off on Jan. 18.

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TAGS: 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup, AMA Online Education, Basketball
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