By JONAS TERRADO
Joshua Munzon is leading all rookies in scoring despite a slow start to his PBA career while fellow newcomers Jamie Malonzo, Mikey Williams and Troy Rike are also making solid contributions before the Philippine Cup came to a halt due to Enhanced Community Quarantine regulations.
Munzon’s 11.3-point average through three games with Terrafirma is best among first-year players, though the top overall pick of the draft has made just 32.5 percent of his shots.
The former ASEAN Basketball League and Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 was held to just six points on 3-of-15 shooting in his debut against TNT, bounced back with a 24-point performance on an 8-of-16 clip opposite NLEX before posting just five points on 2-of-9 attempts in another loss this time to unbeaten Magnolia.
Malonzo, taken second by NorthPort, is perhaps the most productive rookie of the season-opening conference with 10.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.3 blocks.
A former one-and-done player for La Salle, Malonzo is the second in scoring and the top rebounder and shot blocker among rookies as evident with his athleticism shown in the four games that saw NorthPort go 1-3.
Williams has played just two games for unbeaten TNT, producing 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals.
TNT’s fourth overall selection, however, will look to shake off his rough shooting when the PBA resumes, making just 6-of-29 shots for 21 percent.
Rike, NorthPort’s other first round choice, produced 6.5 points on 45-percent shooting (best among rookies), 4.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.
The 11th pick in the draft scored in double figures once, posting 20 points spiked by six triples with eight rebounds and three blocks in a 115-79 rout of Phoenix Super LPG last July 21.
Other notable rookies with solid numbers include Meralco’s Alvin Pasaol (6.5 points), Phoenix’s Aljun Melecio (5.6 points and 2.2 assists) and Nick Demusis (5.0 rebounds).