|PBA Annual Draft|
A cast of 71 aspirants beat the deadline for application in the coming PBA Annual Draft, making the August 19 proceedings at the Midtown Robinson’s Place Manila one of the biggest and highly-anticipated events ever in league history.
The late entry of long-time amateur superstar Chris Tiu further added glitter and excitement to the league’s first official activity for its coming 38th season.
Acquiring the precious no. 1 overall pick from Air21, Petron is already bent on using the selection on promising big man Junmar Fajardo of the University of Cebu, but opted to keep its card on its other pick (no. 3) in the first round.
With the 27-year-old Tiu finally throwing his hat on the Draft sponsored by Agantea, Banana Leaf abd Tully’s Coffee, the proceedings especially in the first round are expected to take a lot of turns with Alaska selecting at no. 2, followed by Petron, Meralco, and Barako Bull (acquired from Petron).
Tiu, the former team captain of Smart Gilas-Pilipinas, is projected a first round pick by league scouts alongside reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Calvin Abueva, former national team players Aldrech Ramos and Fil-Ams Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis, and PBA D-League MVP Vic Manuel.
Completing the picks in the opening round are Ginebra at no. 6 (acquired from Powerade), Rain or Shine, Ginebra, B-Meg, and Talk `N Text.
Fil-Ams also come in abundance in this Draft with Hodge and Ellis as among the notables. But also under the radar of scouts include Jason Deutchman, Charles Keith Jansen, and Alex Mallari.
Prominent local talents are not lacking either with the presence of San Beda big man Dave Marcelo, Jewel Ponferada, Ateneo’s Eman Monfort, JR Cawaling of Far Eastern University, the deadly Adamson quartet of Jan Colina, Lester Alvarez, Janus Lozada, and Jerick Canada, and Ronald Pascual, who forms part of San Sebastian’s dreaded `Big 3’ along with Abueva and Ian Sangalang.
A total of 16 players are listed as having studied abroad, while San Sebastian, Mapua, Ateneo, and Adamson have the most number of players in the Draft.
All rookie aspirants will undergo the regular biometrics procedure on August 15.
The final list of candidates for the official Draft will be issued by the league on August 16. (Dave Coros)
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