The 2018 PBA Rookie Draft is scheduled for December 16. As of this writing, the draft order has not been determined. Nonetheless, we at ESPN5.com came up with this ranking of the 12 best prospective applicants. (Disclaimer: The players ranked here are based on those who have applied for the draft as of posting, with no feedback yet if applications will be approved by PBA.)
Last update: December 3, 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)
Bobby Ray Parks made waves the past week after he finally decided to apply for the PBA draft. Parks remains a top prospect because 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 has enough local and international experience which makes him PBA-ready among all the players on this list. The Blackwater Elite plan to select Parks as the second overall pick and if they do take him, they automatically become a better team with him on board.
3. (3) Robert Bolick (6-1, PG/SG)
Robert Bolick, who applied for the draft this past week, will be heading into the PBA after helping San Beda win a three-peat. Even though he didn't post eye-popping numbers in the series, he still managed to control the game with his playmaking, which will be the main asset he can offer PBA teams. 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. (7) 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.
7. (8) 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.
8. (9) Paul Desiderio (5-10, G)
Paul Desiderio, the man behind UP's "Atin 'to" (This is ours) battle cry, has been instrumental in the Fighting Maroons' magical run this season. With their backs against the wall against second-seeded Adamson in the Final Four, the UP skipper delivered in the clutch to steer his team to their first finals appearance in 32 years. In Game 1 of the championship series, Desiderio became one of the main targets of Ateneo's defense and rightfully so. The veteran point guard struggled to get his touches and was limited to just five points, but he still contributed eight assists, six rebounds, and a steal to help the Fighting Maroons keep in step with the defending champions. It was unfortunate that he fouled out with still a minute to play and watched his team lose from the sidelines, but expect the Cebuano standout to bounce back as UP tries to spoil the Blue Eagles' title defense on Wednesday.
9. (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.
10. (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.
11. (new entry) Arvin Tolentino (6-5, F)
After a fulfilling collegiate career, Arvin Tolentino was among the hopefuls who officially filed for the PBA draft last week. Tolentino played two years for the Ateneo Blue Eagles before spending his remaining years of eligibility with the FEU Tamaraws. Fittingly, he played his last UAAP game versus his former team. The Tamaraws fought valiantly but were no match against the top-seed Blue Eagles in the Final Four. Tolentino, who made a name for himself as a 6-foot-5 stretch forward who wasn't afraid of taking big shots, was FEU's top scorer this year. His size and ability to spread the floor makes him a great prospect for PBA teams.
12. (11) 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.