MANILA – As expected by fans and observers alike, Joshua Munzon was the first pick of the regular Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Draft held virtually on Sunday night.
And for the Philippines' No. 1 3x3 player, it is a great privilege that he headlines what many touted as the most talent laden draft class in recent history.
Including the four Gilas picks, 65 players were drafted, setting the new record for the most players selected in a single draft
"I'm just super honored and super excited to be in this position," said Munzon, who is making his way back into professional 5-on-5 play.
Terrafirma took the 26-year-old Munzon, who was born in Long Beach, California, first in the regular draft as the team looks to groom him as replacement for CJ Perez, who was traded to San Miguel last month.
"I'm ready to come in and get to work," the 6-foot-4 Munzon further said. "I just want to come in, contribute, be a good teammate, somebody who works hard, be a good example on and off the court, and just continue to get better myself."
The Dyip later used the Beermen's supposed draft pick which was included in the trade package for Perez, the eighth pick in the regular draft, to select James Laput, the tallest in the draft class at 6-10.
NorthPort took high-flying forward Jamie Malonzo with the second pick and later picked Troy Rike with the 11th pick, the draft selection they got from TNT as part of a 2018 trade between Mo Tautuaa and Terrence Romeo.
NLEX drafted Calvin Oftana third overall, TNT got Mikey Williams with the fourth pick, while Rain Or Shine went for Santi Santillan with the fifth pick and Alaska took Ben Adamos with the sixth pick.
Phoenix took bruising big man Larry Muyang with the seventh pick, Meralco went with Alvin Pasaol No. 9, and Magnolia picked Jerrick Ahanmisi at No. 10.
Ginebra then busted a lot of mock draft picks by taking Ken Holmqvist at No. 12, the last pick for the first round, and Brian Enriquez at No. 13, the first pick of the second round.
On the other hand, without a first-round selection, Blackwater made the most out of the second round by taking former Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League stars Reymark Acuno and Josh Torralba at 14th and 15th, respectively.
The Aces then pulled off a surprise of its own by taking Taylor Browne at No. 16 even as they then selected Alec Stockton at No. 21.
Franky Johnson, who was tipped as a potential first round pick in some late mock drafts, slid to the second round with the Elasto Painters taking him 17th overall, and they later selected Anton Asistio at No. 22 and Andrei Caracut at No. 23.
The Fuel Masters scored a coup by selecting Nick Demusis 18th overall and Aljun Melecio 19th overall, while the Road Warriors took David Murrell 20th overall.
Notable draftees taken after the second round include MPBL star Dhon Reverente (25th by Terrafirma), former juniors basketball star and actor Andre Paras (27th by Blackwater), Ken Mocon, the younger brother of Javee (29th by ROS), former University of the Philippines star Jun Manzo (38th by Blackwater), former University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) juniors champion Philip Manalang (50th by ROS), fellow former UAAP high school star Jerie Pingoy (52nd by Phoenix), and former Jose Rizal University stalwart Jed Mendoza (61st by NorthPort).
Jordan Heading 'grown a lot'
Meanwhile, Jordan Heading believes his career has improved following his stint with the RP Youth Team as he makes a return to national team play.
"I think I've grown a lot. I've learned from a lot of really great coaches and players that I've been able to take a lot of lessons from," said Heading, who has been called up to Gilas Pilipinas.
The call-up was formalized by making him the first pick of the special Gilas draft also on Sunday night.
Terrafirma holds the rights to Heading even as the former Alab Pilipinas guard will team up with Isaac Go, the first pick of the previous Gilas draft in 2019 also by the Terrafirma franchise.
"I plan to bring [the lessons] with me with Gilas and when I get to the PBA as well," Heading vowed. "[The fans] can expect me to really play my hardest and bring a positive attitude in everything that I do. Whatever Coach Tab [Baldwin] needs of me, I'm gonna do just that, and I'm gonna try my best to play my role and do what's needed of me," Heading said.
NorthPort then took Will Navarro with the second pick of the Gilas round even as NLEX drafted Tzaddy Rangel at No. 3 and TNT took Jaydee Tungcab at No. 4.
Like in the case of Go, Rey Suerte, Allyn Bulanadi, and twin brothers Matt and Mike Nieto, the four Gilas picks this year will stay with the national team until they get released to their mother teams. (PNA)