Completing this task wasn't easy at all.
Basketball drafts are hit or miss most of the time. Sure, there are instances when a top prospect lives up to expectations, but that doesn’t happen on a regular basis. The possibility of botching a selection will always exist no matter how much scouting a team might do.
The truth is it takes a bunch of seasons after draft day before one can rightfully determine who really should’ve picked who. Like what we did with the 2018 PBA draftees, we came up with a draft remix of the 2017 class. Let’s see how the first round should’ve really gone down.
1st pick: Kia Picanto – Christian Standhardinger [Original pick: Christian Standhardinger]
This one’s a no-brainer. C-Stan is an MVP-caliber talent. There’s no disputing that the Bulldozer deserves to be picked first overall. But hey, Kia traded him for peanuts, instead of doing the right thing by trying to keep the eventual two-time Best Player of the Conference awardee at all costs.
2nd pick: NLEX Road Warriors – Jason Perkins [Original pick: Kiefer Ravena]
Ravena was a magnificent playmaker in his four-year stint in the PBA. We really would’ve stuck with him at no. 2 had he not chose to play in Japan. With that, a suitable replacement for him would be Jason Perkins. The 6-foot-4 crafty forward turned out to be one of the league’s finest post-up players. Playing under then NLEX coach Yeng Guiao might’ve also fast-tracked Perk’s development.
3rd pick: Blackwater Elite – Rey Nambatac [Original pick: Raymar Jose]
Blackwater used the third overall pick on enforcer Raymar Jose. Unfortunately, the former FEU Tamaraw wasn’t able to be anything else other than that. Choosing Nambatac who transformed into highly reliable combo guard for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters would’ve been the better move.
4th pick: Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters – Kiefer Ravena [Original pick: Jason Perkins]
Yes, Phoenix will only have Ravena for four years. But to a young PBA franchise that was just in its second season, acquiring someone with superstar potential would’ve been a massive boost for the brand. Plus, Manong Kiefer teaming up with former Fuel Masters ace Matthew Wright sounds super fire.
5th pick: Alaska Aces – Jeron Teng [Original pick: Jeron Teng]
Alaska really was something. They took the best talent available at the no. 5 slot back then, and it still seems like the correct decision to this day. Jeron Teng’s explosive game in college didn’t translate in the next level but he has remained a consistent double-digit scorer in the PBA.
6th pick: GlobalPort Batang Pier – Raymar Jose [Original pick: Robbie Herndon]
Herndon never got to suit up for GlobalPort as he was immediately traded to the Magnolia Hotshots. Clearly, Batang Pier’s shot-callers were looking for something else. A rugged big man perhaps? After all, they acquired centers Lervin Flores and Joseph Gabayni from the Herndon deal. Well, they could save themselves the trouble, now that they can simply go with Raymar Jose.
7th pick: Rain or Shine Elasto Painters – Robbie Herndon [Original pick: Rey Nambatac]
With Nambatac already taken, Rain or Shine will have to swing for Herndon. The Filipino-American swingman has become a benchwarmer for the San Miguel Beermen but it’s not as bad as it seems for the Elasto Painters. When given the chance, Herndon can produce decent numbers like when he averaged 12.5 points and 26.7 minutes of action for Alaska back in 2020.
8th pick: Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters – Joseph Gabayni [Original pick: Sidney Onwubere]
With the Fuel Masters already locking in the services of the Phenom, they could use their second pick in the first round on a big body that can throw his weight around the paint. Taking a swipe at the 6-foot-5 bruiser like Gabayni doesn't sound bad at all.
9th pick: Star Hotshots – Andreas Cahilig [Original pick: Lervin Flores]
What the Hotshots didn’t get in Flores, they might find in Cahilig. For a while now, the Filipino-Swedish forward has been a good hustle guy and a decent stretch big with the Terrafirma Dyip. With that in mind, he might be able to provide the Chito Victolero-squad a different dimension while playing backup for Ian Sangalang.
10th pick: TNT KaTropa – Lervin Flores [Original pick: Mark Tallo]
Flores ended up being a 3x3 Tropang Giga player. Clearly, the franchise sees something positive in this 6-foot-5 slotman. Having the 10th pick, they have a serviceable center who can potentially be a reliever for Poy Erram.
11th pick: TNT KaTropa – Mark Tallo [Original pick: Jonjon Gabriel]
Tallo is currently one of the country’s best 3x3 players. For sure, he has earned another shot at showcasing his skills in the PBA. It wouldn’t hurt TNT to give this impressively skilled and flashy guard a huge break.
12th pick: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel - Chris de Chavez [Original pick: Jett Manuel]
Another notable 3x3 player who might be due for another crack in the PBA is Chris de Chavez. Ginebra’s original pick here was three-point shooter Jett Manuel, but he ended up retiring after one season. Going with De Chavez, who’s also a capable shot-maker from deep, is a good alternative option.
How would you redraft this batch?