And then there were 86.
The PBA officially released the final number of applicants for the rookie draft set on March 14. Eleven players were removed from the 97 who submitted their applications last Jan. 27.
Top Fil-foreign standouts Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser were among the notable ineligible applicants. Taylor Statham, Tyrus Hill, John Paul Gulfo, and Christopher Cancio were also unable to complete the requirements for proceedings.
The pro league requires Fil-foreigners to submit a Department of Justice affirmation and Bureau of Immigration certification, but travel restrictions brought about by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic made the process tougher.
Four other Fil-foreign players in JJ Española, John Paul Zarco, Ezra Ocampo, and Neilowen de Jesus withdrew from the draft.
Other Fil-foreigners who are cleared to be part of the draft are Jerrick Ahanmisi, Andre Paras, Louie and Loren Brill, Taylor Browne, Brian Enriquez, Jordan Heading, David Murrell, Franky Johnson, Cedric Pelayo, Troy Rike, Seraj Elmejrab, Dallas Serrano, Mikey Williams, Joshua Torralba, James Laput, and Michael Simmonds.
The record for the most number of draft applicants in league history was 91 in the 2014 batch led by Ginebra star Stanley Pringle.
Fil-Ams Joshua Munzon or Jamie Malonzo is seen to go No. 1 in the draft.
The likes of Williams, Leonard Santillan, Alvin Pasaol, Johnson, Ben Adamos, and Larry Muyang are expected to be picked in the first round.
The ineligibility of the highly-touted Fil-foreigners might just change the plans of the teams in this year’s deep draft class.
Terrafirma will be selecting first in the draft followed by NorthPort, and NLEX, which has the Nos. 3 and 4 picks.
Rain or Shine owns the No. 5 selection, followed by Alaska, Phoenix, the Dyip, Meralco, Magnolia, the Batang Pier, and Ginebra.