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TOP OF THE CLASS?

We will be picking Rosser all the way.

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Brandon Rosser is tipped to be taken by Blackwater as top overall pick of the 2022 PBA Annual Rookie Draft. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PBA

Barring any last-minute change of heart, Blackwater will pick up Brandon Rosser with the top overall pick of the 2022 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Annual Rookie Draft today at the Midtown Atrium in Robinsons Place Manila.

No less than Bossing head coach Ariel Vanguardia made the confirmation, telling Daily Tribune that they will definitely go for the athletic 6-foot-7 forward in the 4 p.m. draft proceedings that would be held face-to-face for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vanguardia said there is no doubt that Rosser is the best available talent in the 66-man field vying for slots in the oldest professional league in Asia.

He admitted that they were initially torn among Rosser, De La Salle University star Justine Baltazar and Filipino-American hotshot Sedrick Barefield.

But when Baltazar opted to take a different direction to sign in the Japanese B.League and Barefield pulled out of the draft after failing to complete his requirements, the Bossing’s decision to grab the 28-year-old former Uiversity of California Riverside banger became much easier.

“We will be picking Rosser all the way. He is already in our list before. We will be very happy to have him,” said Vanguardia, who has a golden opportunity to rebuild the hard-luck squad with Rosser and the ninth and 11 picks of the draft.

Since attempting to join the draft last year, Rosser has been in the radar of team governors, coaches, scouts and talent evaluators.

In fact, he served as main man of Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Baskteball League and displayed a glimpse of what he can do when he powered the Limitless Appmasters to the inaugural PBA 3×3 Lakas ng Tatlo title.

Now, he is campaigning with the Appmasters in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, prompting him to miss the Draft Combine and the draft ceremony.

Still, Vaguardia remains hot on Rosser.

“Having him gives us more opportunities. He is a legitimate big man that could block shots, provide interior protection and it’s a bonus that he’s a good scorer,” said Vanguardia, who steered the Bossing to a thrilling 101-100 victory over Magnolia on 8 March to snap their record-breaking 29-game losing streak.

After Rosser’s name has been announced, Terrafirma will reportedly select Arellano University rebounding machine Justin Arana with the second pick while new team Converge is said to be going for San Sebastian College standout JM Calma and Draft Combine Most Valuable Player Encho Serrano.

Rain or Shine, holding the fifth pick, might make a risky move in selecting an injured Jeremiah Gray while NorthPort, NLEX and Barangay Ginebra will make the sixth, seventh and eighth selections, respectively.

Blackwater will make another pick at ninth then Rain or Shine at 10th, the Bossing again at 11th before Magnolia wraps up at the first round with the 12th selection.

Other potential first-rounders include Letran College stars Ato Ular and Jeo Ambohot, Ateneo de Manila University standouts Gian Mamuyac and Tyler Tio, La Salle swingman Kurt Lojera, and former University of the Philippines forward Javi Gomez de Liaño.

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