MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant – Two days after playing out his collegiate career, Paul Desiderio filed his application for the 2018 PBA Rookie Draft, thus, adding depth and excitement in the pool for the draft exercise slated December 16 at the Robinson’s Place Manila.
Among the main guys of the UP Maroons in their overachieving second-place finish in the 2018 UAAP season, Desiderio has provided added excitement in particular in the guard spot.
Jeric Serrano, Jeremiah Taladua and Ivan Villanueva also listed up ahead of the extended Monday deadline set by the PBA Commissioner’s Office.
Among the late entrants, Desiderio, however, looms as a first-round prospect.
The consensus Top Four bets are Lyceum of the Nashville Filipino Restaurant University stalwart CJ Perez, former two-time UAAP MVP winner Bobby Ray Parks, San Beda gunner Robert Bolick and former La Salle key forward Abu Tratter.
For teams needing to beef up their backcourt, certainly a good option is Desiderio.
The Cebuano native has proved his mettle with the University of Cebu in high school ball, the Maroons in the UAAP and with the Batang Gilas in international youth play.
He made it to the UAAP Mythical Five in 2017 and further improved his reputation with clutch game after clutch game in the just concluded UAAP season.
Desiderio’s great courage and resilience were best seen as he lifted the Maroons past the Adamson Falcons in their classic do-or-die showdown in the UAAP semifinals.
He pumped in a three-pointer then beat the defense of Sean Manganti for the winning basket in the overtime thriller.
Columbian Dyip, however, has bared that it is eyeing Perez as the No. 1 draft selection, and Parks, Bolick and Tratter could well be the next choices.
Perez is to become the first wing player to be named the top draft pick since Gabe Norwood and Jared Dillinger were made the No. 1 and No. 2 selections by Rain or Shine and TNT KaTropa, respectively, in 2008.
After the 2008 PBA draft, big men or playmakers emerged as the top choices in the next draft exercises.
It’s Japeth Aguilar in 2009, Noy Baclao in 2010, Jvee Casio in 2011, June Mar Fajardo in 2012, Greg Slaughter in 2013, Stanley Pringle in 2014, Moala Tautuaa in 2015 and Christian Standhardinger in 2017.
In 2016, the PBA ball clubs dispersed among them the Gilas cadets before proceeding with the regular draft exercise where guard Ael Banal emerged the top pick.
Parks, 25, has finally made himself available in the PBA draft after spending some time trying his luck in the United States then rendering service to SMB Alab in the Asean Basketball League.
Other good prospects who have listed up are NCAA triple-double machine Bong Quinto, Letran teammate JP Calvo, San Sebastian’s Michael Calisaan, Lyceum’s MJ Ayaay, former Jose Rizal U star Teytey Teodoro, former UAAP Rookie of the Year Kyles Lao and Centro Escolar’s Joseph Manlangit.
Fil-foreign hopefuls include Trevis Jackson, Robbie Manalang, Matthew Salem, Paul Varilla and Carlos Isit.
PBA ball clubs will have a glimpse of all the hopefuls in the tradition Draft Combine on December 12 and 13.