MANILA — The dream of being a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) player is expected to be fulfilled on Sunday as the league holds its annual rookie draft at the Robinson’s Place Manila Atrium.
The 12-member clubs will choose players from a pool of 53 eligible draft applicants who bolster their respective rosters as they fast track preparation for the 2017 season, which begins on Nov. 20.
What makes this 4 p.m. event special is that two drafts will take place, the usual draft and a special draft exclusively for those who were named to Gilas 5.0.
“The idea was for them to have a special draft with all the team owning the rights of the players knowing that those players will be committed to the national team until such time the SBP releases them to the PBA,” said SBP president Al Panlilio, who also serves as Meralco’s representative to the PBA board.
Blackwater owns the first pick of both the regular and the Gilas drafts, but while the team is already keen on taking Mac Belo as its Gilas selection, its first pick in the regular draft remains a surprise.
“Yung regular draft pick namin, depende sa pangangailangan, position, at yung best talent available,” said Coach Leo Isaac.
Former RP Youth Team members Raphy Banal and Gelo Alolino are among those looming to be the number one pick of the regular draft.
Phoenix owns the second pick for both the Gilas and the regular drafts, while Ginebra, which recently won the Governors’ Cup two weeks ago, has the third picks.
Alaska, which finished second in two conferences last season, will choose 10th in the Gilas draft and 11th overall in the first round of the regular draft.
GlobalPort and TNT do not have first round picks in the regular draft but are now assured of one player each due to the prerequisite that all clubs must participate in the Gilas draft. Ivan Saldajeno/PNA- northboundasia.com