PBA draft likely to be reset to March

    1998

    CIRCUMSTANCES are forcing the PBA to make changes in its plans for next season.
    Commissioner Willie Marcial is seriously considering moving back the opening of next season and would recommend such a move to the PBA Board in its next meeting.

    Marcial had previously said plans have been made for the pro league’s 2021 season to start by March 20, but starting it in early April now looks like the more plausible move.

    “Kasi iniisip ko, ‘yung February para sa Gilas,” Marcial said, referring to the national team playing in the remaining FIBA Asia Cup qualifying windows.

    “Dapat opening tayo ng March 21,” added Marcial. “Pagkatapos na pala noon, Holy Week.

    Di tapusin ko na Holy Week. Kaya baka mag-opening tayo sa (46th) anniversary na. Iyun ‘yung naiisip ko.”

    The PBA first played a game on April 9, 1975.

    Should the PBA Board approve such a move, it would also affect the rookie draft.

    “Baka mga March na siguro, kasi nga baka mag-uumpisa na tayo ng April,” said Marcial.

    That would give the teams, led by Terrafirma, more time to ponder their moves on how to bolster their respective lineups.

    For winding up dead-last in the Philippine Cup, the lone tournament salvaged from the pandemic-ravaged 2020 season, the Dyip are assured of picking first in the rookie draft.NorthPort drafts second, and NLEX at third and fourth.

    The other first round picks as well as the rest of the order will be determined after the ongoing Philippine Cup playoffs.

    Set to tangle in the semifinals starting Wednesday are Phoenix Super LPG and TNT while Ginebra’s foe would be known after last night’s match pitting Meralco against defending champion SMB.

    Due to the pandemic’s lingering threat, the draft will be held online while an announcement on when and where applicants will give their forms is expected to be announced in the coming days.

    Terrafirma, at least, is sure of its place in the draft’s pecking order.

    It marks the fourth straight year the franchise alternately known as Kia, Mahindra and Columbian is picking first overall, including the one in 2017 which it traded to San Miguel Beer and which the Beermen used to tab Christian Standhardinger.

    Since then, the Dyip have made CJ Perez the top pick overall in 2018 and Isaac Go and Roosevelt Adams in the 2019 special and regular drafts, respectively.

    First priority for Terrafirma’s coaching staff is determining whether they will pick based on need or the best talent from what promises to be a bumper crop of incoming newbies.

    The Dyip already have a serviceable core in Perez, Juami Tiongson, Rashawn McCarthy, Adams, Glenn Khobuntin and Aldrech Ramos. Who to supplement them is the question.

    The Dyip could hardly go wrong on this one.

    The likes of Jamie Malonzo, Thirdy Ravena and Kobe Paras are expected to headline the draft along with Joshua Munzon, Troy Rike, Justine Baltazar and Jason Brickman.

    That’s not to mention Ricci Rivero, Javi Gomez de Llano, Santi Santillan, Calvin Oftana and Larry Muyang, should they decide to join the fray.