The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft is scheduled for December 16. As of this writing, only Fil-foreign players have submitted their applications, and the draft order has not been determined. Nonetheless, we at ESPN5.com came up with this ranking of the 12 best prospective applicants. (Disclaimer: we are assuming that everyone who is eligible will apply, and that the UAAP will allow its players to join the draft once the season is over).
Last update: November 19, 2018. Previous week's rank in parenthesis)
1. (1) CJ Perez (6-2, SG)
The Columbian Dyip can do no wrong should they select CJ Perez as the number one overall pick in the draft, as they have said they will. Owners of just six wins during the entire 2018 PBA season, adding a star-caliber player like Perez should at least net Dyip a few more victories. The six-two guard, though, had a somber end to his storied collegiate career. He was suspended in Game 1 of the NCAA finals for failing to inform the league of his PBA draft intentions. He also missed out a Mythical five selection because of the said penalty. In Game 2, he tried to will his team a victory but ultimately failed against the impenetrable defense of the San Beda Red Lions. He did his best with a Game 2 stat line of 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists, but lost to the Red Lions in the finals for the second straight year. Despite falling short, Perez's draft stocks shouldn't take a significant dip. He has already established himself as a top caliber player who can do multiple things on the floor. He'll be an asset to whichever team decides to select him.
2. (2) Bobby Ray Parks (6-4, PG/SG)
The Blackwater Elite have made it known that they plan to select Bobby Ray Parks, and with good reason. In terms of pure talent, Parks is still on top of the list for the possible upcoming draftees. He has transitioned well into being a point guard, has sharpened his shooting from distance, and also has the athleticism and size to defend anyone from 1 to 3. He's like a Christian Standhardinger or Stanley Pringle in the sense that he'll be coming into the PBA in his physical prime. The fans have waited a long time to see Parks playing in the country's premier league but they will not be disappointed when they finally see him in action.
3. (3) Robert Bolick (6-1, PG/SG)
Robert Bolick's fairytale story of bench player-turned-star is one of the best turnarounds in college basketball. Last week, he completed a three-peat for the San Beda Red Lions. Even though he didn't post eye-popping numbers, he still managed to control the game with his play-making. Bolick's steady hand at the point, provided his team with a total of 21 assists in the two finals games. Merely a bench player a few years ago, Bolick has risen to the top of the collegiate ranks. He bided his time and worked on his game to turn into the San Beda Red Lions' leader. Standing at 6-1, Bolick won't wow you with athleticism. Instead, he is a crafty playmaker and a relentless attacker who can get by his defender. Add his willingness to be his team's go-to-guy in clutch situations, he'll be a keeper in the big league.
4. (4) Abu Tratter (6-6, C)
Size is always an important commodity in the PBA and when it is coupled with athleticism and a outside shot, then you have a player that would most likely be selected in the upper half of the first round. Already, the Phoenix Fuel Masters have made it known that they have their eye on the former La Salle slotman. Although he did not have an amazing collegiate career, former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes saw enough in Abu Tratter to make him a part of the 23 for 23 pool. More than that, he's one of the very few non-PBA players to make it to the Gilas main roster as he joined the squad in Melbourne against Australia.
5. (5) Bong Quinto (6-2, SG/SF)
What a great year for this stud. Not only did he turn heads in the PBA D-League for Wangs-Letran, he helped bring a championship to Batangas City in the MPBL, and led the Letran Knights to the Final Four before an injury cost his squad the win. But the end of his collegiate career shouldn't put a damper on the bright future of Quinto. A member of the NCAA Mythical Five with averages of 15.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, this kid is ready for the big stage.
6. (6) Alvin Pasaol (6'3", F)
If he decides to turn pro this year, Alvin Pasaol will enter the PBA draft with the reputation as arguably the best scorer in college basketball today. It all started last year when he recorded a 49-point explosion, making him a household name. This season, he's churning out 24.7 points per game to lead the league, surpassing Terrence Romeo's 22-point average back in Season 76 and putting him close to Ben Mbala's 26-point scoring record last year. It's even more impressive that two of this season's highest individual scoring outputs belong to him -- 36 points versus Adamson and 32 points versus UST. Pasaol, however, isn't just a scoring machine. He's also a relentless rebounder, hauling down nearly 11 boards per game. His offensive prowess and his nose for the ball will be valuable assets in the PBA. He is on his way to a Mythical Five selection, coming in at third place in the MVP race, behind only Bright Akhuetie and Angelo Kouame. He finished this season with a record 24.4 points, the second highest scoring average since 2003.
7. (8) Javee Mocon (6-4, F)
With his finals MVP performance for San Beda, Javee Mocon cemented his place as a first rounder. In the two finals games, he averaged a double-double with 15.0 points and 10.5 rebounds while adding 3.0 blocks. He saved his best performance in his very last game for San Beda with 16 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks, in the Red Lion's Game 2 title-clinching victory. He is a reliable big man for the Red Lions and can easily chalk up a double-double. In his graduating season, he put up 13.1 points on 52.2 percent shooting while grabbing 9.8 rebounds a game en route to an NCAA Mythical Five selection. Even though he will be an undersized forward in the PBA, his outside shooting will become valuable for his pro career.
8. (7) Trevis Jackson (5-11, PG/SG)
Height-wise Trevis Jackson should be a point guard in the PBA but his natural position is the two-spot as he can flat out score. He has a variety of moves that can shake off any defender and he can score from any spot on the floor. Jackson is an able ball-handler who only needs to improve his shot selection heading into the professional ranks. Although his sweet stroke is his main weapon, he can also drive to the basket. He played his best basketball in the PBA D-League when he had a good point guard beside him. A direct comparison for Jackson is Columbian Dyip's Jerramy King.
9. (9) Paul Desiderio (6-1, G)
Thirteen games into UAAP Season 81, Paul Desiderio of the UP Fighting Maroons is putting up modest averages of 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds. Desiderio's numbers are not eye-popping but he's still one of the most reliable scorers in the collegiate ranks. He had his best game of the season so far with a 31-point feat, reminding everyone that he remains UP's main gunner and leader. He also became instrumental in the Go for Gold Scratchers' title quest in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup with his attacks and clutch baskets. He did not become famous for his "Atin 'to" (This is ours) mantra for nothing. More than the stats, Desiderio will go down as the team captain who led the UP Fighting Maroons to their first Final Four appearance in over two decades. From potentially skipping his final year, to helping his team reap success this season, it's been a memorable year for the Cebu standout. His leadership and veteran prowess is what makes him valuable to his squad. Whether or not UP gets pasts the Final Four, Desiderio will still be a first rounder given what he's accomplished in his final year.
10. (10) Matt Salem (6-2, SG/SF)
Salem worked his way up the draft boards with solid showings in the UAAP, as well as the designated shooter on the PBA D-League squad Go for Gold that won the championship a few months ago. He's a trusted standstill shooter that's now evolving his game to shoot off of screens and handoffs, and also has size to defend against guards and small forwards. He's the type of player that can fit on any squad, because of his ability to space the floor and not force his offense.
11. (11) Vince Tolentino (6-3, F)
Vince Tolentino does not register gaudy stats like his peers. Instead, he brings a different edge to the game with his basketball IQ and winning experience. He's not the most physical or most skilled player on the court, but he can turn out to be the smartest. His all-around effort helped the Ateneo Blue Eagles bag the UAAP title in his last year in college. After graduating, he became a vital piece in the Go For Gold Scratchers' championship run in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup. Acquiring a player like Tolentino, who knows how to be tough on both ends of the floor, can help any team in the PBA.
12. (12) JJay Alejandro (6-0 SG)
JJay Alejandro had a fruitful five-year career with the NU Bulldogs. He was part of the historic Season 77 UAAP championship team that saw the school take home the title for the first time in 60 years. And even though he missed out on the Final Four in his last year, he reintroduced himself as not only as a scorer but as a playmaker as well. As the leader of NU in Season 80, he produced career averages of 16.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. Alejandro carried his all-around game in the PBA D-League with Go for Gold-CSB and on his recent stint in the MPBL as part of the Bataan Risers.