SAN Beda University is raring to regain the crown it lost to Letran last season, but the Red Lions will have to do it without prized big man and reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana, who opted to forego his final year with the squad and join in the PBA Draft on March 14.
No worries for San Beda coach Boyet Fernandez.
“I am happy for Calvin. I know he is ready for the PBA. He will be a great asset to the team that will draft him,” Fernandez told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“Losing a player in Calvin’s caliber will be a tough one, but we all support Calvin’s decision because we believe this is the right time for him to join the draft,” he added.
The 6-foot-5 Oftana led the Lions in the last cage wars with averages of 15.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks.
“Our goal this season is to reclaim the crown that we lost and losing Calvin will not really help our cause, but it will not stop us to look and train players that can fill Calvin’s spot,” Fernandez said.
“It will be hard, but we will find players that will step up. I am confident with that.”
Oftana, along with Ateneo slotman William Navarro and former University of the Philippines wingman Jaydee Tungcab, have applied for the Draft and are likely to be chosen in the special Gilas Pilipinas Draft.
Speaking last Tuesday in the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum, NorthPort team governor Erick Arejola confirmed that a special Gilas Draft will happen anew.
“The process would be, the final list of the players will be submitted by the PBA to the SBP,” Arejola said.“By the end of submission for rookie applicants, we’ll find out who Gilas will pick like in 2019.”
In 2019, five amateur standouts led by Isaac Go (Terrafirma), Rey Suerte (Blackwater), Matt Nieto (NLEX), Allyn Bulanadi (Alaska), and Mike Nieto (Rain or Shine) were selected 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 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.