NLEX already has a near-complete roster but may just find itself with a couple more amateur stars in addition to the one it has in reserve.
The PBA has yet to lay down the final pecking order in the special round of the Season 46 Rookie Draft set March 14, but as things stand now NLEX may just end up having two choices.
“Sa ngayon wala pang final, pero ang dati nating sinusunod kung ano order sa regular round, ganoon din sa special draft,” Commissioner Willie Marcial told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.
“But mind you, wala pang napapagkasunduan,” added Marcial, who granted a hurried interview during a break in a meeting where all governors attended in person or through video call.
Marcial added that Al Panlilio, who represents Meralco in the PBA Board and concurrently the SBP president, has already informed the pro league that the Gilas coaching staff would choose “three to five” players in the special round. Last week, Panlilio said the Gilas coaching staff intends to take “five to six” players in the special draft.
All scenarios will be a win-win situation for NLEX.
Should the regular draft order be followed, NLEX stands to have an enviable choice from among the crop of blue-chip prospects since it owns the third and fourth picks overall.
Should the SBP require only three players the Road Warriors will still be in the mix since they pick after Terrafirma and NorthPort.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao could not be contacted for comment but had said he already has 13 players in his roster with the remaining slots to be filled up through the regular draft, which initially drew a record 97 applicants.
Should the PBA decide to take away one of NLEX’s picks and SBP opts for five, Rain or Shine and Magnolia will be the biggest beneficiaries since they come next in the drafting order.
All players tabbed by Gilas from the draft will only be able to suit up for the pro teams that drafted them if they are released by the SBP.