With the talent depth of this year’s rookie draft, it would be interesting to see, who among these newbies will make the biggest noise once the PBA’s 39th Season kicks off on November 17.
Of course, all roads to the Philippine Cup championship still has to pass through Talk ‘N Text, the defending champion in the All-Filipino conference, though this year’s batch of rookie talents could easily tilt the balance in the pro league.
Here are my top 5 rookies for this season:
Slaughter’s stratospheric presence though will be put to test when he goes up against the pro league’s seasoned big men, from Air21’s Asi Taulava, to San Mig’s Marc Pingris, Alaska’s Sonny Thoss, and, not to mention his expected long professional basketball collision with former college basketball nemesis June Mar Fajardo of Petron.
Fajardo and Slaughter faced each other when the 6’10” Petron slotman was still manning the paint for University of Cebu, while the latter was still with the University of Visayas.
I see Slaughter making a “giant” impact, the way Fajardo did, especially when he starts learning PBA life from Ginebra veterans led by 2012 PBA MVP Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio and Billy Mamaril.
2. Ian Sangalang – described by San Mig coach Tim Cone as a “cerebral player”, Sangalang may not be an immediate statistical contributor for the Mixers due to the presence of numerous scorers and veteran big men in the team.
But the 6’5” former NCAA MVP will have to go through a period of adjustment learning the triangle offense, but once he gets into the groove, Cone will definitely ease him into his regular rotation.
Sangalang said he’ll try to learn a smuch as he can from the championship-laden roster of San Mig, an attitude that could surely help him adjust well to his professional career.
3. Jeric Teng – Whether he goes to Barako Bull or Globalport come draft day, Jeric Teng can surely carve his own name in the PBA, the way his father Alvin did during the 1980s till the mid-1990s.
Jeric has shown his character by battling through shoulder and hamstring injuries during the recent UAAP season, in the process, helping the University of Santo Tomas reach the Finals.
And though Jeric failed to successfully finish his final UAAP season with a championship, the 6’1” UST guard’s college basketball lessons will surely serve him in good stead as he transitions to the PBA.
4. Raymond Almazan – The 6’7” Letran star admitted he’s got a lot to learn as far as PBA play is concerned. But with the huge improvement he’s shown this season, Almazan can surely make a big difference, particularly on the defensive end.
He may not have to score heavily during his rookie season because Rain or Shine has enough offensive weapons to do that. His height can help the team, particularly on the rebounding, a department that is in Yeng Guiao’s “to-improve” list this coming season.
5. RR Garcia – The former UAAP MVP is a basketball smart who make immediate impact, particularly in a team like Barako Bull, which is looking to strengthen its backcourt.
Garcia’s quickness can help him drive strong to the basket, or make that late drop pass to an open teammate. He can also shoot from the outside, which makes him more deadly.
Other rookie notables like James Forrester, Terrence Romeo, Nico Salva, Ryan Buenafe, Justin Chua, Alex Nuyles, among others are sure to inject new blood and add further excitement for the PBA’s 39th season because of their unique skill sets and athleticism.
Photo Source: www.spin.ph