TERRAFIRMA and NorthPort, two teams on the road to redemption, went the route expected of them in yesterday’s PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft.
The Dyip, dead-last in the 2020 Philippine Cup, used their top pick overall to nab prolific Joshua Munzon before boosting their wafer-thin frontcourt with center James Laput, the tallest among the 86 applicants at 6-foot-10, in the virtual proceedings anchored at the TV5 studio.
Owning two first round picks themselves, the Batang Pier promptly picked another explosive scorer in Jamie Malonzo at No. 2 before taking on 6-foot-8 forward Troy Rike at No. 11 as the Mike Romero-owned franchise bids to improve on its 11th place finish in the lone tournament salvaged from the 2020 season.
“I’m ready to come in and get to work,” said Munzon, a 6-foot-4 guard from Cal State-LA who is expected to fill the offensive void created when two-time scoring champion CJ Perez was traded by Terrafirma to San Miguel Beer in the off-season.
“I just want to contribute, be a good teammate,” added Munzon.
A part of that deal with the Beermen involved the latter’s No. 8 pick and using that on Laput means Terrafirma now has a legitimate slotman aside from Joseph Gabayni after the Dyip made do with natural forwards Jeepy Faundo and Christian Balagasay taking turns at the middle for most of last year.
NorthPort also went as expected with Malonzo, an athletic 6-foot-6 forward who played a one-and-done season with La Salle in the last UAAP wars.
Also giving additional size to the Batang Pier is Rike, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Wake Forrest who is expected to also help bolster a team that has also recently acquired Greg Slaughter in a trade with Ginebra.
There was also practically little surprise in the other first round choices, which had the applicants tuned in via Zoom.
NLEX went for former NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana at No. 3, TNT chose guard Mikey Williams at No. 4, Rain or Shine took center Leonard Santillan at No. 5, Alaska used its at No. 6 rights on 6-foot-7 center Ben Adamos, Phoenix caught another center in Larry Muyang at No. 7 and Meralco made UE hotshot Alvin Pasaol the No. 9 pick.
Left with no big man it liked, Magnolia went to Plan B and promptly took in former Adamson shooter Jerrick Ahanmisi at No. 10 while Ginebra settled for former Far Eastern U center Ken Holmqvist at No. 12.
The first four teams to pick got additional perks earlier with a player each from the special round for Gilas players.
Terrafirma drafted guard Jordan Heading, NorthPort forward William Navarro, NLEX center Tzaddy Rangel and TNT guard Jaydee Tungcab, although those players cannot suit up for their respective teams until such time as they are released by the SBP.