CJ Perez, as expected, headed the 2018 class of the annual PBA Rookie Draft, and the ex-Lyceum star promised not to let Columbian Dyip down in terms of him dishing out energy and effort in every game.
"Dream come true. I've long been dreaming to make the PBA. Tapos ito pa, binigyan ako ng pribilehiyo na maging first pick. Susuklian ko ito ng hustle at effort every game," said Perez shortly after being made the top draft selection by the Columbian Autocar Corp. franchise in a well-attended draft exercise at Robinson's Place Manila Sunday.
The proceedings lasted for over two hours with 41 of 47 hopefuls hearing their names called in the first PBA draft under commissioner Willie Marcial.
No-show was No. 2 pick Bobby Ray Parks (Blackwater) as he's attending his game with San Miguel Alab in the Asean Basketball League over in Surabaya.
A seasoned player with a stint in the NBA D-League, Parks has taken the first step towards following the footstep of his father - seven-time Best Import winner Bobby -- in the country's premier pro league.
NorthPort, also as expected, made Robert Bolick as the third pick then NLEX made a big surprise with its fourth pick as it selected UP Maroon guard Paul Desiderio.
"Amin na ito," said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao in announcing their choice of the Cebuano player who became the highest drafted PBA player from UP since Paolo Mendoza was picked No. 1 overall by Sta. Lucia in 2000.
All the while, everybody's expecting Abu Tratter to be NLEX's No. 4 pick.
But Tratter went to the Road Warriors just the same a little later - at No. 7.
"I'm happy and thankful to be selected," Tratter said.
Picked at No. 5 was Fil-Am guard Trevis Jackson by Meralco then plucked at No. 6 was 6-foot-3 forward Javee Mocon by Rain or Shine.
At No. 8, Rain or Shine drafted guard J-Jay Alejandro, then Alaska Milk chose wing man Jasper Ayooy at No. 9, Magnolia selected forward Mike Calisaan at No. 10, Columbian enlisted playmaker CJ Calvo at No. 11 and Phoenix Petroleum picked Jorey Napoles at No. 12 to close out the first round of the draft exercise.
All the teams got first-round picks except San Miguel Beer, TNT and Barangay Ginebra.
Ten players were drafted in the second round led by Paul Andrew Varilla (ROS) followed by Kier John Quinto (Meralco), Jeepy Faundo (Magnolia), Kris Porter (NLEX), Gideon Babilonia (Alaska), Cyrus Tabi (Columbian), Robbie Manalang (ROS), Harolg Ng (ROS), Ron Dennison (Phoenix) and Allen Trinidad (Phoenix).
Columbian selected former JRU main man Teytey Teodoro to start the third round where Diego Dario went to Blackwater, Edrian Lao to NorthPort, Ivan Villanueva to Phoenix, Steven Cudal to Meralco, Jeffrey Ongteco to TNT, Kyles Lao to NLEX, Kent Lao to ROS, Ryan Monteclaro to San Miguel and Matthew Salem to Ginebra.
Oliver Arim (Columbian), Dan Alberto (Blackwater), Jeremiah Taladua (NorthPort), Kim Cinco (Phoenix), CJ Isit (TNT), Dan Wang (NLEX) and Al Cariaga (ROS) were selected in the fourth round while Chris dela Pena (Blackwater) and John Ragasa (NorthPort) were drafted in the fifth round.
Rain or Shine was the team with the biggest harvest with a total of seven draftees.(SB)