Another special Gilas draft likely next year

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    A SPECIAL Gilas Pilipinas Draft anew next year?

    That’s possible, based on the PBA’s commitment to help Gilas in its preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio.

    “That was the agreement. I think every draft now, they (PBA) will give the SBP a crack at certain players that we want to put in the pool. As we enter the next draft, if we pick three, four, five players, then most probably we’ll have to ask some of the players to go back to the PBA now and play for their mother teams,” Panlilio said on an episode of SportsPage.

    “The arrangement, really, was for them to have a mother team. That’s why the drafting was done so when the SBP is ready to release them, they would know where to go and which PBA team they would go to, so that would continue,” he added.

    Last year, five amateur standouts led by Isaac Go (Terrafirma), Rey Suerte (Blackwater), Matt Nieto (NLEX), Allyn Bulanadi (Alaska), and Mike Nieto (Rain or Shine) were tabbed in the special draft. They have yet to play for the teams that selected them.

    The five players are members of the national team training pool in the first two windows of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

    The option of holding a special Gilas Draft, along with the regular Draft likely to be held in March 2021, hinges largely on the PBA, which held a board of governors’ meeting yesterday.

    “We only had one conference this year, so I don’t know what Commissioner Willie Marcial will be recommending to the board,” Panlilio said. “I’m looking forward to having that discussion.”

    Among those likely to be part of next year’s pool are members of the Gilas squad in the Bahrain bubble that include La Salle slotman Justine Baltazar, reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana of San Beda University, University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Ateneo’s Will Navarro. All have one more year left in their collegiate careers but have yet to decide whether to turn pro or stay.

    Blue Eagle guard Dwight Ramos is set to play his rookie season in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament, while the Fighting Maroons’ duo of Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liaño are still eligible to play for two years

    Ateneo guard Dave Ildefonso and Red Lions’ big man Kemark Cariño also still have two years left in their eligibility.

    Wingman Jaydee Tungcab has already played all his playing years for UP, making him the only sure player to be included in the special Draft pool if and when it pushes through.

    The Dyip own the top pick overall anew, followed by NorthPort, the Elite, the Road Warriors, and the Elasto Painters in the top five.

    Blackwater’s No. 3 selection will go to NLEX as part of the complicated three-team trade that sent JP Erram from the Road Warriors to TNT last February.