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Grading the teams' picks in the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft

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PBA's top picks Perez, Bollick, and Desiderio seemingly safe choices (2:53)

CJ Perez, Robert Bollick, and Paul Desiderio should all have immediate impacts on their new PBA teams. (2:53)

The 2018 PBA Draft took an unexpected turn with the No. 4 overall selection when NLEX coach Yeng Guiao tabbed Paul Desiderio. Few would have guessed Mr "Atin 'to!" would go that high. While 41 players have been drafted into the PBA, only a few will make the opening day lineups in 2019. Of course, it will take some time before teams know how they really fared, but we evaluate how each team did in the PBA Draft.

Columbian Dyip

For the league's worst team, record-wise, this was not up for too much debate. Weeks ago, head coach Johnedel Cardel already said his team would select CJ Perez of LPU, and it did with the first overall pick. Perez is a do-it-all, all-around player, with a motor that just keeps running, a winner's mentality, and burning desire to do his best at every turn. That the Dyip did not throw away its opportunity to get the best available talent this year as it did last year already gives the team a high passing grade. Because the team selected the talented Perez, it deserves a high grade. Scooping up JP Calvo late in the first round showed that Columbian wants a reliable player to lead its team moving forward. These two first-rounders will keep the Columbian veteran guards on their toes. The team picked Cyrus Tabi, Tey Teodoro, and Oliver Arim in the later rounds. GRADE: A+

Blackwater Elite

Picking second overall, the Elite pounced on the talented and athletic Ray Parks. For years, fans have been waiting for this fellow's entry into the PBA, but, doing things on his own time, Parks first ventured into other basketball endeavours before finally deciding to throw his name into the PBA Draft hat. Gifted offensively, with the ability to play the three smaller positions, as well as to get down and dirty on defense, Parks gives coach Bong Ramos another legitimate scoring threat, with the versatility to play anywhere on the floor. Blackwater is a team on the rise. It has shown the ability to compete with any other team, and Parks surely raises the level of competition for the other teams to deal with. The already guard-heavy Elite chose UP's Diego Dario, Dan Alberto, and Chris dela Pena in the later rounds. GRADE: A

NorthPort Batang Pier

Rounding out the projected top three was Northport's first pick, Robert Bolick of the San Beda Red Lions. Searching for a complementary backcourt partner for the amazing Stanley Pringle, Coach Pido Jarencio turned to someone whom he calls a proven winner with a very high level of talent. Bolick is, like the two picks before him, a guard who can do most everything - his handles are outstanding, he can shoot the three, is one of the best penetrators, and he sets up his teammates superbly as well. Plus, Bolick gives great interviews and will be a fan favorite. He has vowed to bulk up and get stronger as he acknowledges the strength of PBA players, but, talent-wise, Bolick is surely deserving of all the high praise. NP chose Edrian Lao, Jeremiah Taladua, and John Ragasa in the later rounds. GRADE: A

NLEX Road Warriors

The Road Warriors' first selection shook up all the pre-draft brackets and predictions as Guiao claimed Paul Desiderio as his and his team's first first-round pick, number four overall. Reactions of surprise were all around, including on Desiderio's face, as the Fighting Maroon's name was called. After all, Desiderio had not been projected as a top-five prospect. The selection, though, made sense after considering Guiao's preference for players with heart, that play hard and battle 'til the end, no matter what - in short, Desiderio. And, while NLEX surprised the gallery with its first pick, the team was very fortunate to have La Salle center Abu Tratter fall on its lap just three picks later, seventh overall. Some had Tratter a few notches higher. He adds size and athleticism, and some experience with the national team. This may be a double-kill for NLEX in the first round, trade rumors notwithstanding. Later on, NLEX chose Kris Porter, Kyles Lao, and Dan Wong. GRADE: A

Meralco Bolts

Meralco chose guard Trevis Jackson with the fifth overall pick. The PBA D-League standout and former Sacramento State player could help the already solid guard rotation of Coach Norman Black, as he could possibly with team up with Baser Amer, Chris Newsome, Mike Tolomia, and Anjo Caram, unless one or some of them are eventually moved to make way. Jackson is athletic, can play-make, and stays low on defense. He is a willing worker who vows to improve on all aspects of his game to compete with the myriad great guards in the PBA. Watch out for Meralco's pick in the second round, Bong Quinto of Letran. Undersized in the frontcourt but not lacking in talent and desire, he might be a second-round steal. The Bolts also got Steven Cudal in the third round. GRADE: B+

Rain or Shine Elastopainters

The Elastopainters had a bunch of picks in this year's Draft. To describe its first-round picks, the best word might be "solid." Javee Mocon of San Beda at number six may prove to be a master stroke. Mocon may not have been as heralded as some of his other NCAA teammates and opponents, but he was arguably the glue that kept the Red Lions squad together throughout an impressive run in his career. Mocon is strong, smart, can score in several ways, and knows how to win. Picking up NU's J-jay Alejandro two places later was smart - this fellow had some big games in several stretches of his university career and has a big chance to stick. ROS chose Paul Varilla and Robbie Manalang in the second round, Kent Lao in the third, and Josef Cariaga in the fourth. GRADE: B-

Alaska Aces

Still busy battling in out in the ongoing PBA Governors' Cup Finals, obviously much of the team's focus was not on the Draft. Alaska only chose two players - Jesper Ayaay of LPU at ninth overall and big-man and potential second-generation PBA player G-Boy Babilonia in the second round. Currently already with a solid-lineup, the Aces looked to get a big man to shore up its frontline. However, with not much size available, they took a player whom they believed can provide scoring, athleticism, and added defensive intensity in Ayaay. This selection raised many eyebrows, and Ayaay will surely aim to prove any doubters wrong. Babilonia is a banger who sets good screens and hustles. He may find a roster spot. GRADE: C

Magnolia Hotshots

The other current Governors' Cup finalist, one win away from the crown, the Hotshots Pambansang Manok chose frontliner Michael Calisaan of San Sebastian with its first pick, 10th overall. A bruiser inside with a nifty low-post game, the former Golden Stag is looking forward to playing alongside his "kuya" Ian Sangalang, a former San Sebastian standout as well. Calisaan focused on developing a perimeter game in his final collegiate year, looking forward to this jump into the PBA, and he will have several frontcourt veterans on Magnolia to properly guide him along the way. The squad also picked up national 3x3 player and former UST center Jeepy Faundo in the second round. He has the height and length to find a roster spot as the team looks to get younger up front. GRADE: C

Phoenix Fuel Masters

Despite the strong showing of Jorey Napoles in the PBA D-League, at the Combine, and during his playing career with the TIP Engineers, not many felt he could enter the first round. The Fuel Masters looked beyond pedigree to break the mold and selected him at ninth overall. Napoles will join a frontline that includes Calvin Abueva and Jason Perkins, and similar to these two, will be undersized but talented, with grit and toughness, and a nose for the ball, which makes them all play much bigger than they actually are. As always with players from lesser-known programs, there are many question marks, but Napoles is a gamer and will look to silence any critics and make believers of everyone, especially the Phoenix management that decided to roll the dice on him. The team picked up two former FEU Tamaraws in the second round, Ron Dennison and Joe Trinidad, and Ivan Villanueva and Kim Cinco later. Dennison has the best chance among them to crack the line-up. GRADE: B

TNT KaTropa

TNT's first pick came in the third round, and the KaTropa chose Jeffrey Ongteco, a big man out of the College of St. Benilde. The frontline of TNT could use an upgrade, but, as earlier stated, there weren't many outstanding bigs available so the team picked a big man who can bang with some ability to score but who might be a work in progress if he can find a roster spot. The team is solid though and really must first repair its apparent chemistry problems prior to next season. In the fourth round, the KaTropa chose Mapua guard CJ Isit, which might prove fruitful, especially if rumors of Terrence Romeo's departure come to fruition. GRADE: C

San Miguel Beermen

This team, despite faltering by its standards in the second and third conferences, does not need much to improve. With only one pick in the Draft, the Beermen chose guard Ryan Monteclaro in the third round. However, SMB has a rock-hard guard rotation, so making the team will be quite a reach. He will not lack effort in trying, though. GRADE: C

Barangay Ginebra Kings

Similarly to San Miguel, Ginebra did not have any early picks and wound up choosing just one player, Matt Salem in the third round. Salem was projected by some to go as high as the first round, so there was some surprise that he fell this far down. However, he has talent, can shoot the ball, and might end up on a roster somewhere, if not on Ginebra's, which is pretty crowded. GRADE: C