February 21, 2024

Draft redux: Redoing the 2018 PBA Draft

Draft redux: Redoing the 2018 PBA Draft
Art by Royce Nicdao

Hindsight, as the saying goes, is 20/20.

And since it is but human nature to think of the what-could-have-beens and ask the what ifs, One Sports has decided to play along by taking a look at some of the recent PBA Drafts—and reimagining how each would go if the teams back then only knew how the then-aspirants’ careers would unfold. Put simply, a redraft.  

In this exercise, we will be wearing our coach’s hat and “pick” on each team’s behalf the player whom we think would have made the most sense for a team in its situation back then.

It would not make a lot of sense, however, to redo the most recent drafts as these players are still getting their feet wet in the pros. So, we start in the year 2018 and move further from there. Five years (or more) should be enough time to see the careers these players have carved out. 

Let’s begin by redrafting the very top-heavy 2018 edition of the rookie draft:

1st pick: Columbian Dyip – Ray Parks Jr. [Original pick: Cjay Perez]

It would be hard to argue against Perez as the number 1 overall pick of the 2018 PBA Draft. After all, he did win Rookie of the Year that season and has blossomed into one of the league’s best players. Parks, though, has more size, is a proven winner, and is a bona fide two-way player.  

2nd pick: Blackwater Elite – Robert Bolick [Original pick: Ray Parks Jr.]

Bolick is as complete an offensive player the league has seen in recent memory. He can drive, shoot from deep, and set up his teammates well. He is a bit more consistent than Perez, too, and that nudges him ahead of The Predator in this redraft.

3rd pick: NorthPort Batang Pier – Cjay Perez [Original pick: Robert Bolick]

Perez at number 3 is quite the consolation for the Batang Pier. A younger Predator gives the same playmaking chops as Bolick, but sans the dead-shot sniping from deep.

4th pick: NLEX Road Warriors – Javee Mocon [Original pick: Paul Desiderio]

Desiderio’s “Atin ‘to” battle cry arguably raised his stock, but his game never really translated at the professional level. In fact, he is now out of the league. Mocon, on the other hand, has blossomed as the fourth-best player in this class, and he would have helped NLEX right away in 2018.

5th Pick: Meralco Bolts – Abu Tratter [Original pick: Trevis Jackson]

Meralco’s backcourt wasn’t quite that deep back then, and that’s probably why the Bolts took a flyer on the explosive Jackson. Tratter, though, would’ve made more sense as another big body for Meralco and Cliff Hodge’s understudy.

6th Pick: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters – Bong Quinto [Original pick: Javee Mocon]

With Mocon off the board in this redraft, the next best talent available would be Quinto. And with his hard-nosed, defensive-minded style, Quinto would’ve fit like a glove in Rain or Shine.

7th Pick: NLEX Road Warriors – Trevis Jackson [Original pick: Abu Tratter]

Back in 2018, Alas wasn’t a star just yet, and the Road Warriors needed backcourt help. Jackson could’ve helped in that regard, particularly with his scoring. Not to mention, he is the kind of irrational-confidence guy that would’ve fit perfectly in Yeng Guiao’s freewheeling system.

8th Pick: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters – Paul Varilla [Original pick: JJ Alejandro]

The Elasto Painters would love the kind of player Varilla has become—a tough as nails, defense-first role player.   

9th Pick: Alaska Aces – JP Calvo [Original pick: MJ Ayaay]

Calvo has turned out to be a solid backup for the Dyip, an Anjo Caram-type of player who competes on defense and make open shots. He'd probably be higher if he were 5-foot-11 instead of 5-foot-9. 

10th Pick: Magnolia Hotshots – Jeepy Faundo [Original pick: Michael Calisaan]

Faundo rarely plays for the San Miguel Beermen, but at 6-foot-7, he can be a useful backup big man with his physicality and soft touch at close range. 

11th Pick: Columbian Dyip – MJ Ayaay [Original pick: JP Calvo]  

In a draft short on game-changing talent after the first four picks, getting a quick, pesky, all-hustle guard like Ayaay at the 11th pick is definitely a steal.

12th Pick: Phoenix LPG Fuel Masters – Michael Calisaan [Original pick: Jorey Napoles]

Rugged, athletic, and physical bigs will always carve a role in any league, and that is exactly what Calisaan is. He hasn't panned out, but he can help a team if given the chance. 

How would your redraft go?

(GM)