‘It’s really a very strong draft’


    MORE than enough to go around.

    That was effectively what the PBA and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said yesterday, referring to how many applicants would remain after pro league governors agreed to hold another special round for Gilas in the Season 46 Draft on March 14.

    The SBP may yet pick some of the brightest stars in the amateur ranks, some of whom are already Gilas Cadets.
    SBP President Al Panlilio and Commissioner Willie Marcial said what will be left from the record total of 97 applicants should be enough for all the 12 pro teams to choose from.

    “It’s really a very strong draft,” noted Panlilio, also representing Meralco, during a brief break the PBA Board took in the midst of its meeting at the league offices in Libis, Quezon City.

    “Kahit na kumuha ulit ang SBP (through a special draft) marami pa ring magagaling na matitira,” said Marcial. “Sigurado ‘yung mga kulang ng teams mapupunuan nila.”

    Bolstering that claim is the fact the applicants include 31 Fil-foreigners, also a new league record, although 18 of them have yet to complete their requirements – confirmation or affirmation from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration.

    To help applicants coming from abroad, the PBA decided to extend the submission of the needed documents up to March 5.

    According to Panlilio, the SBP and the Tab Baldwin-led Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff are already scanning the list of draft applicants and should be ready to arrive at its own list “in a few days.”

    “We will review the list,” said Panlilio. “We will look at the players and choose who are qualified for the national team.”

    The players the SBP chooses will be included in the Gilas pool from which the core of the country’s national teams in international competitions, specifically the 2023 World Cup, will be picked.

    The SBP and PBA will set another special meeting, during which the former will submit the list of players it wants and the PBA will lay down the framework of such a special draft, especially the pecking order.

    The last Gilas draft was held in 2019, with Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt Nieto, Allyn Bulanadi and Mike Nieto selected. They and the latest additions will not be able to suit up for the teams that drafted them until they are released by Gilas.

    In other matters discussed by the Board:

    *The PBA’s participation in the FIBA-sanctioned EASL has been put on hold until such time as the pro league has conducted a vaccination program for all its teams and personnel.

    *Eric Altamirano has been named as tournament director for the PBA’s 3×3 tourney which the league plans to hold within the coming season. Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, chairman of the PBA’s 3×3 committee, said a more concrete plan for the tourney should be had by next week.

    *The PBA is joining hands with the Red Cross in a vaccination program, wherein the league would do its part through info-mercials and the latter helping the pros in their vaccination and saliva tests.