MANILA, Philippines -- Barangay Ginebra head coach Tim Cone expects teams that are in the middle of the league standings to greatly benefit from the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft, touted as one of the deepest in recent history.
A total of 97 players, including 31 Filipino-foreign standouts, applied for the draft that will be held in a virtual ceremony on March 14.
TerraFirma Dyip owns the top overall pick, followed by NorthPort, but Cone believes that teams can find impact players midway through the first round and even later on in the draft proceedings.
"I think that the draft will really strongly impact the PBA," Cone said in a recent appearance on "The Game. "
"I think it's really gonna impact, how can I say it, the middle teams," he added.
The NLEX Road Warriors own the third and fourth picks, followed by Rain or Shine, Phoenix Super LPG, and Alaska. TerraFirma will also pick at No. 8, having acquired that position in the trade that sent CJ Perez to San Miguel Beer.
Meralco picks ninth, followed by Phoenix Super LPG, and NorthPort, before Cone's Gin Kings make the 12th and last pick of the first round.
"The teams that are gonna get the draft picks from three to seven or eight, I think those guys will really impact the PBA, and really raise the level of those teams, which will make them so much tougher," said Cone.
"I'm talking about NLEX, Alaska, Rain or Shine," he added. "Those teams will really jump up, I think in terms of level of talent."
"I think they'll be big forces in this upcoming conference."
Joshua Munzon, the country's top 3x3 player, has been projected as the top overall pick followed by De La Salle University standout Jamie Malonzo.
But players such as reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Calvin Oftana, ABL star point guard Jason Brickman, Colegio de San Juan de Letran forward Larry Muyang, and well-traveled big man Taylor Statham are also projected to go off the board in the first round.
Other talents who can make immediate impacts include 3x3 stars Santi Santillan and Alvin Pasaol, who joined the draft this year after a couple of years in the FIBA 3x3 circuit.