2011 PBA DRAFT: ALASKA ACES – WHAT THEY NEED



(This is the first of ten articles called What They Need. Last year, I made a version where we called out a PBA team’s roster and pick out the slots they need to shore up. Most of these deficiencies are addressed via the draft.) 

Last season, Alaska was in some ways like Talk N Text. They made the finals of the Philippine and Fiesta Cups and they almost won a two-conference format “grand slam”. It was not the case this season. The team relinquished Reynel Hugnatan to Meralco while Joe Devance was involved in a pseudo-three way trade that ended up with JDV going to B-Meg in what were considered as very, very lopsided deals. The core of LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Tony Dela Cruz, and Sonny Thoss are still there but they need shore up their bench.  


TOP FIVE ACES OF THE 2010-11 SEASON:

1 SONNY THOSS
PHILCUP: 12.2PPG – 9.7RPG – 1.9APG – 1.1BPG – 17 GAMES
COMCUP: 9.8PPG – 9.6RPG – 2.4APG – 1.3BPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 12.4PPG – 9.7RPG – 2.5APG – 1.5BPG – 13 GAMES

2 LA TENORIO
PHILCUP: 11.2PPG – 5.2RPG – 4.3APG – 1.2SPG – 17 GAMES
COMCUP: 17.3PPG – 3.8RPG – 5.0APG – 1.3SPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 13.0PPG – 5.2RPG – 4.4APG – 1.4SPG – 13 GAMES

3 CYRUS BAGUIO
PHILCUP: 13.2PPG – 4.3RPG – 3.5APG – 1.2SPG – 17 GAMES
COMCUP: 11.8PPG – 4.4RPG – 3.4APG – 1.3SPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 11.7PPG – 4.1RPG – 1.8APG – 1.0SPG – 0.7BPG – 9 GAMES

4 JAY-R REYES
PHILCUP: (RAIN OR SHINE) 9.1PPG – 7.5RPG – 1.3APG – 14 GAMES
COMCUP: (AIR21) 7.7PPG – 6.8RPG – 0.8APG – 1.2BPG – 15 GAMES
GOVCUP: 5.2PPG – 4.0RPG – 0.7APG – 13 GAMES

5 TONY DELA CRUZ
PHILCUP: 9.0PPG – 4.8RPG – 2.0APG – 1.1SPG – 0.7BPG – 17 GAMES
COMCUP: 5.8PPG – 4.4RPG – 1.6APG – 1.0SPG – 12 GAMES
GOVCUP: 8.2PPG – 4.8RPG – 0.8APG – 0.7SPG – 12 GAMES


WHAT THEY NEED:

CENTERS: When Samigue Eman develops the potential that made him a second overall pick, Tim Cone will have the twin tower option he desperately yearns. Sonny Thoss has slowly developed into a double-double menace. They have Ervin Sotto, Mike Burtscher, and Paolo Bugia in the reserved list but Cone hasn’t really made use of them.

FORWARDS: Jay-R Reyes could have been a match for Hugnatan but not for Devance. Hans Thiele was given to the Aces but he too isn’t getting the grace of Cone. The triangle offense is hard to master which is why college standout Elmer Espiritu struggled in his rookie season. Alaska’s bench has been decimated and they need to pad their second unit if they want to continue to dominate. The good news for Cone is that Wesley Gonzales seems to be at home with his system because he learned that system through Joel Banal in Ateneo. He also has the very dependable Tony Dela Cruz to backstop his rotation. Mark Borboran, entering his fourth season, must show career growth.  

GUARDS: The LA Tenorio-Cyrus Baguio backcourt has worked wonders for Tim Cone. They have been getting the lion share of the minutes but for example in the Governor’s Cup when Baguio was sidelined, it looked like Tenorio and Jason Forte had to make up for his absence. In their bench they have Bonbon Custodio and Brandon Cablay but their bench is so limited that they had to acquire Aris Dimaunahan.


WHO SHOULD THEY PICK? 

Bench players. They need to bolster up their bench. It has been their problem for a couple of seasons now and they need to use the players they choose effectively. However, Tim Cone has this query to use rookies or newbies in his lineup. Remember the thing I wrote that Ateneo players under Joel Banal work well in the triangle offense? Well if that’s the case, they should send their first round pick or something to partner with Jay-R Reyes to Ginebra to claim Enrico Villanueva or Billy Mamaril!

Anyway if they will use this pick, the best choice is to get a shooting guard or a small forward. In the fifth spot, they have the luxury to wait and see whether or not Mac Baracael, Marcio Lassiter, Dylan Ababou, and Chris Lutz have yet to get drafted. Either of these guys will prove solid in giving Baguio and Tenorio an extra scorer. If it was me, I'd choose Lutz because he reminds me of a young Jeffrey Cariaso. In the second round, Alaska has this tendency to claim weird choices like what they did a couple of drafts ago when they took Burtscher. There is a big player from EAC named Marvin Greabel. If it was me though, I can see bigs like Magi Sison, Ronald Pascual, Dave Marcelo, and Vic Manuel getting the nod if still available or James Martinez, Garvo Lanete, Eric Salamat, or Pamboy Raymundo in the guard spot. Poor second round selection though because not unless he does something great that Tim Cone likes, action will be scarce for the unlucky draftee.

Game over.

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