The 2017 PBA Draft was a draft filled with very little surprises. The consensus top pick was Christian Standhardinger. The only mystery there was which team he would go to, Kia or San Miguel. Once the trade was announced, the Draft went as everyone expected. The Beermen got their German big man and Kiefer Ravena went to NLEX with the second pick. From there every team selected the best player available to fit their needs.
The 2017 PBA Draft may have lacked surprises, but it still had a fair share of winners and losers.
San Miguel Beermen – Winner (Duh.)
San Miguel just added a 6’7″ behemoth to their Mythical Team core. That’s downright ridiculous. But the addition of Standhardinger isn’t what makes them a big winner in the draft. They’re big winners because they take Standhardinger away from everyone else. There are very few players in the league that can match-up to June Mar Fajardo one on one. Standhardinger was supposedly one of those players that can go to battle with the Kraken. Now, instead of having to face Standhardinger, Fajardo gets to play alongside him. Again, downright ridiculous.
Just one more note: Standhardinger isn’t a young rookie. But that’s good for the Beermen because they’re getting someone battle-tested and ready to go. They don’t have to wait for him to develop like Arnold Van Opstal who they drafted a year ago. Stanhardinger is Perfect plug and play big for a Grand Slam seeking team.
Standhardinger’s Vlog – Winner
During the draft, Standhardinger was going around and taking a video of everything that was happening. He mentioned that he had plans to start a vlog once he moves permanently to the Philippines. He’s joining a team that has a comedic genius in June Mar Fajardo and a recording artist in Arwind Santos. Standhardinger’s vlog will always have content no matter what. In fact, that might just be my new Netflix.
Kia Picanto – Loser (Double duh.)
In SLAM PH’s Draft Grades article, Kia got a big F and their notable selection during the draft was a bag of chips. It might actually have been better if the Kia draft contingent went to out for chips and beer instead of going to the draft itself. After they traded the top pick, their next picks were in Round three and five. They could have texted the Commish those picks and saved the time and effort of going to a draft which they messed up for everyone.
The Kia table was a sad sight during draft night. They watched as talented rookie after talented rookie went up on stage and put on caps with other teams’ logos. Any one of those rookies could have helped them in the upcoming season. To make matters worse, Kia drafted two Christians with their picks, De Chavez and Geronimo. I guess for an unconventional team like Kia, two Christians are better than one.
PBA Draft Fashion – Winner
It’s nice to see athletes take risks and mix it up. Players are only going to be drafted to the PBA once in their lives. Might as well have fun with it, right? Well, two guys did. Kiefer Ravena and Jason Perkins.
Ravena did the US thing where players line their suits with their college jerseys. He paid homage to the Ateneo Blue Eagles who he credits with his growth as player. Jason Perkins paid homage to his heritage. Hefty Lefty went local and donned a Barong to the formal event.
So, who wore it better?
Davon Potts – Loser
It was excruciating watching Davon Potts sit throughout the first and middle of the second rounds.
Potts was projected as a first round talent. But he’s had an off year with the San Beda Red Lions so that kind of tanked his draft stock. He’s proven before that he’s a big time scorer and a clutch scorer in the NCAA and in the D-League. That should have been enough to preserve his value right? Well, several teams didn’t think so and Potts slipped all the way to the middle of the second round to the Alaska Aces.
The beauty of the draft isn’t what number you’re selected but where you actually land. Potts went to the Alaska Aces, a team in need of a boost in their offense. He could do the whole revenge thing, wear the number of teams that passed him up as a jersey number and just kill it on court.
PBA Combine Stars – Winner
Before the PBA Draft, the names Robbie Herndon and Jonjon Gabriel didn’t ring a bell to the majority of the basketball fans in the league. Jett Manuel? He was just another guy from the UAAP. But these three players showed up at the PBA Combine and showed their talents in front of media, scouts and coaches. From relative unknowns, all three suddenly became first round picks.
For Herndon and Gabriel, it was a matter of getting their name out there. Herndon was an explosive scorer with size and range. Gabriel is a hardworking bruiser who played bigger than his 6’4″ frame. Both of them showcased their talents to a bigger audience. Manuel on the other hand, had to show his growth as a player. From a high-volume shooter, the former UP Maroon showed that he is now a savvy combo guard that can score and create. All three were picked in the first round because of their showing in the combine.
The PBA and its fans – Loser
When will the PBA have a draft that is without controversy? Last year, the PBA held a special Gilas Cadets round where no one knew what was happening and how each player got to their team. Two years ago, TNT was able to nab the top two picks via controversial trades.
This year there was another controversial trade between the Beermen and the Picanto, allowing San Miguel to further stack their already robust roster. If that wasn’t enough, there was additional controversy of a TNT official submitting the draft requirements of Standhardinger which Commissioner Chito Narvasa revealed the media.
This prompted a strongly-worded, Dan Gilbert-like response from TNT putting the PBA and Commissioner Narvasa on blast. It was a statement complete with exclamation points, all-caps phrases and questions filled with indignation.
— Paul Kennedy Lintag (@paullintag8) October 29, 2017
This almost annual controversy during the draft reflects poorly on the PBA and the people running the show. What’s worse is that it’s the fans that suffer because the product isn’t getting better. They’re forced to grin and bear through questionable transactions almost on a yearly basis.
It’s a shame because there were hundreds of fans that flocked to Robinson’s Manila. They lined the atrium and the viewing area in the upper floor going three levels deep just to support the league and its players. Hopefully, that statement sparks some change in the league. Fingers crossed.
The 2017 Draft Class – Winner
It was draft that started on a low note but ended on a high one. All 43 draft applicants present during the draft were selected by teams that afternoon.
Not everyone selected will end up making the final cut, of course. But hearing your name called is something special, no matter how deep it is into the draft. Getting called up on stage, putting on a cap and jacket with the logo of the player’s new team is validation of all of their hard work.
The joy extends to the families and loved ones of these players as well. Getting called up on stage means that these players will be given a chance. As basketball players, a chance is all they need.
Photos from PBA.ph